Teen Pregnancy Statistics

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The United States has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and teen births in the western industrialized world. Teen pregnancy costs the United States at least $7 billion annually. Keep reading for more interesting facts on teen pregnancy statistics.

The fact that just under 1/3 of all girls in the United States will get pregnant in their teenage years is a sobering thought. Obviously, teen pregnancy is a problem in the United States. And the following teen pregnancy statistics back that up: 

  • Every year around 750,000 teenagers will get pregnant. 
  • Depending on the state, teenage birth rates are incredibly different. Nevada has the highest rate: 113 per 1000 and North Dakota the lowest 42 per 1000. 
  • Unmarried teenagers having children account for 24 percent of all unmarried expectant mothers. 
  • More than 2/3 of all teenagers who have a baby will not graduate from high school, hence the correlation with teenage pregnancy and education. 
  • Billions of dollars are spent taking care of teenage mothers and their children and they are more likely to be in the poverty bracket. On the flip side, millions of dollars are spent in prevention programs.

The good news is that teen birth rates have dropped by almost a third since the beginning of the 1990s. With pregnancy prevention programs and more understanding and teaching about safe teen sex, this number will hopefully drop even more. Here are a few other statistics that hopefully point to even better prevention rates in the years to come: 

  • In 2002 the abortion rate among teenager mother was 50 percent lower than its high point in 1988. 
  • Among black teenagers, the pregnancy rate dropped around 40 percent since 1990. 
  • Among Hispanic teenagers the pregnancy rate dropped around 19 percent since 1990. 
  • Among white teenagers, the pregnancy rate dropped around 34 percent since 1990.

So while teenager pregnancies are dropping, it is still a constant problem as there are more and more kids who enter their teenager years each year. Teenager pregnancy programs are important to as the above statistics are showing that these programs yield good results. These programs should be continually studied to make sure they are up-to-date and working in the education of teenagers on the problems of teenager pregnancy.

One way of making sure to keep the programs fresh is to talk with the teenagers themselves, asking what they think about sex and how it is portrayed in their school life, by their friends, in their families, and in the media. How much do each of these contribute to how a teenager views sex? Parents and educators are in a position to somewhat monitor how sex and especially unsafe or unprotected sex is being digested by the teenagers today. As more questions are answered and prevention programs initiated and/or updated, hopefully these statistics can continually to fall.

As mentioned above, billions of dollars are spent taking care of teenage mothers and their children while only millions are needed to provide good prevention program. For more information on teenage pregnancy prevention, see the Preventing Teenage Pregnancy article on this site.

Teen Pregnancy Statistics Sources:

  • Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Public Health and Services, “Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs” [online].
  • Guttmacher Institute, “U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity” [pdf online].
  • National Center for Health Statistics, “National Vital Statistics Reports, Volume 55, Number 1″ [pdf online]. 
  • TeenPregnancy.org, “Preventing Teen Pregnancy: Why it Matters” [pdf online].
  • TeenPregnancy.org, “So What?” [online].
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