Few statistics focusing on teens are available for the early decades of this century. Most early national surveys concern school attendance and family structure. Beginning in the Fifties, however, with the rising concerns about juvenile delinquency and the growing spending power of teens, surveys began to scrutinize teen behavior and tastes. By the Eighties, a flood of statistics on every aspect of teen life had appeared, a good portion of it funded by private corporations seeking to market goods to teen consumers. Some of this material is contradictory and based on small samples.
I have tried to achieve a range of reliable statistical information in this book and to place it in context whenever possible. In compiling this material I have relied on Stacey Willocks, of Clemson University's Department of Sociology, who adapted statistics and tables from the Encyclopedia of Adolescence, edited by Richard Lerner, Anne C. Petersen, and Jeanne Brooks- Gunn ( Garland 1991), the Statistical Handbook on the American Family, edited by Bruce A. Chadwick and Jim B. Heaton (Oryx 1992), the Statistical Handbook on Adolescents in America, edited by Bruce A. Chadwick and Jim B. Heaton (Oryx 1996), and the Statistical Record of Children, edited by Linda Schmittroth (Gale 1994). Especially useful was Jeffrey Mirel's essay in the Encyclopedia of Adolescence, "Adolescence in Twentieth- Century America" (pp. 1153-1160).