Teen Pregnancy Stats and Facts

It can be said that "numbers speak louder than words..." Here are some of the facts and stats related to teenage/adolescent pregnancy.

The Big Picture

Teenage pregnancy refers to refers to pregnancy in girls under age 19. The United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy among developed countries, with approximately 760,000 young adults becoming pregnant every year, and 78% of these pregnancies unintentional. A quarter of teen mothers (25%) have a second child within two years of their first child. Although teen pregnancy rates decreased significantly during the 1990s, attributed to the increase in condom use, more recent stats point to an upward trend in teen pregnancy rates. For example, according to reports from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the birth rate for adolescents aged 15-19 rose 5% between 2005 and 2007, the first increase noted since 1991.

Age Factor

Younger teenagers have the lowest rates of sexual intercourse and pregnancy, with 8/10 girls and 7/10 boys sexually inactive before the age of 15. Most adolescents start having sex in their mid-to-late teenage years. By the age of 17, more than half of young adults have had sexual intercourse, however 6/10 pregnancies occur in the 18-19 year age group. By age 20, three out of ten adolescent girls become unintentionally pregnant.

Complicated Facts

Pregnant teen moms are at significantly greater risk for several medical and childbirth-related complications, and their babies are at risk for short- and long-term complications.

Due to a lack of proper and early prenatal care, poor nutrition, and other contributing factors, young mothers are at risk for anemia, infections, toxemia, pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), and premature delivery. Adolescent moms are also more likely to smoke and to use drugs and/or alcohol, all of which put their babies at risk.

Infants born to teenage mothers are more likely to suffer complications such as:

•- intrauterine growth retardation and later inadequate growth

•- low birth weight

•- developmental problems

•- chemical dependence

•- death within the first year of life

Social/Demographic Stats

According to data from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, teen pregnancy prevention would greatly contribute to the improvement of overall child well-being in the United States. Young adults who give birth are more likely to come from poor or low-income families, and adolescent pregnancy is a major contributor to poverty.

Teenaged parents are more likely to drop out of school and to be single parents. Less than 50% of teenage parents who give birth before graduating ever attain their high school diploma. About 80% of babies born to unmarried teens who don't complete their education live in poverty, compared to a mere 8% of children born to married high school graduates aged 20 and older.

Later in life, daughters of teenage mothers are more likely to become teen mothers themselves, and sons of teenage mothers are more likely to get arrested and go to jail. Teen pregnancy is also associated with high rates of death from violence.

Abortion Facts

Abortion rates have been steadily decreasing among pregnant teens.

Abortion laws for minors differ from state to state. Depending on which state one lives in, teenage abortion requirements include:

•- parental consent - one parent

•- adult consent from any family member

•- minor can bypass parent's consent with a court approval

•- abortion allowed without parental consent for medical emergencies

•- abortion allowed without parental consent for cases of abuse, assault, incest and neglect

•- minors can get an abortion without parental consent


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