Teen pregnancy is a concern to many people in the United States. Even though the U.S. is among those countries with falling teen pregnancy rates, it is still acknowledged for having the highest number of pregnant teens each year throughout the industrialized world. Numerous educational programs have been implemented to decrease the number of teen pregnancies, and success has resulted. However, teen pregnancy rates seem to vary by age group. Therefore, this factor should be taken into consideration when making efforts to combat the unsafe teen sexual activity and resulting pregnancies of our youth.
The majority of all teen pregnancies occur among the older teens. According to the Guttmacher Institute ,U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics, two thirds of all teen pregnancies occur among 18 and 19 year olds. This accounts for approximately 73 per 1,000 girls. While about half of all pregnancies are unplanned, this age group is responsible for the highest rate of unintended pregnancy.
The current birth rate for girls aged 15-17 is approximately 22 per 1,000. However, from 1991-2007, birth rates for this age group showed a steady decline of more than 40%. In addition, birth rates for girls ages 10-14 also decreased between 1991-2007. It is estimated that they are down by more than 55%. Presently, there are approximately 0.6 births for every 1,000 ten to fourteen year old girls. However, in recent years, this number appears to be staying fairly consistent, while other age groups continue to decline.
It is estimated that 85% of all teenage pregnancies are unplanned. More than half of the teens who get pregnant report using some type of contraceptive. However, an estimated 90% of teen pregnancy may be the result of inconsistent use of contraceptives or failure to use them properly. Many other factors are thought to contribute to teenage pregnancy, including family structure, pressure from peers, and the community environment of the youth.
Although numerous efforts have been made to educate our youth about abstinence, safe sex, and birth control, teen mothers continue to give birth. In many cases, this results as a disadvantage to the teen mother, her baby, and society. Teen mothers are unlikely to finish high school and often fall into a lower socioeconomic status. As a result, an estimated 80% of them end up on welfare. Newborns of teen mothers often lack proper pre-natal care, have lower birth weights, struggle to perform well in school, or have a greater change of being neglected and abused. In addition, a child born of a teen mother is more likely to become a teen mother themselves.
It is obvious that teen pregnancy is an issue that needs to be targeted with multiple age groups. Early intervention may be the key to preventing teen pregnancy.