On the “Good News Friday” segment on the “Wallbuilders Live” radio program, David Barton said: “If a teenager wants to earn $370,000 more in their lifetime than all their neighbors, you know what they need to do? A study now shows that if you are not sexually active as a teenage, you do earn $370,000 more in your lifetime than others.”
This false figure comes from a 2005 Heritage Foundation report that didn’t actually provide any data to support this assertion, but simply “predicted” that students who abstain are also likely to do better in school and therefore have higher lifetime earnings:
Teens who abstain are likely to have greater future orientation, greater impulse control, greater perseverance, greater resistance to peer pressure, and more respect for parental and societal values. These traits are likely to contribute to higher academic achievement. In short, teen virgins are more likely to possess character traits that lead to success in life. Moreover, the practice of abstinence is likely to foster positive character traits that, in turn, will contribute to academic performance … In our society, greater educational attainment leads, on average, to higher lifetime incomes. Because they are more successful in school, teen virgins can expect to have, on average, incomes that will be 16 percent higher than sexually active teens from identical socio-economic backgrounds. This will mean an average increase of $370,000 in income over a lifetime.
(Source: RightWingWatch.org and HeritageFoundation.org)