Teen Pregnancy

August 24, 2010

After a ten-year decline, the teen pregnancy rate in America is on the rise. The latest figures show that three in ten girls in the United States get pregnant by age 20, and the United States has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and childbearing in the industrialized world.

The federal administration is devoting millions of dollars to teen pregnancy prevention programs, even while debate over what has prompted the increase continues.

Unintended pregnancies or pregnancies at an early age often result in lost opportunities, perpetual poverty, and public dependence. Infants born to teen mothers are at higher risk for low birth weight and higher mortality, and the children of teen parents are twice as likely to become teen parent themselves.

Fact USA:

- teens who are more involved in their school are less likely to get pregnant than peers who are not involved
- leading cause of drop out for teen girls: parenthood
- teen drop-outs are more likely to become pregnant and have a child than peers who stay in school
- planning for college lowers the risk of teen pregnancy
- children of teen parents are 2x more likely to be abused and neglected than those born to mothers who delay childbearing
- sons of teen mothers are 2x more likely to end up in prison than sons of mothers ages 20-21
- a child has a 64%/9x greater chance of growing up in poverty if they had a teen mother, parents weren't married when they were born & the mother didn't receive a diploma/GED. They have a 42% chance if only 2 situations occur; a 27% chance if 1 occurs.

Margo Doyle, Director of Education at Planned Parenthood
Alicia Beekman, Director of Youth Services for Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network of South Central New York
Sue Siebold-Simpson, Assistant Professor in the Decker School of Nursing at Binghamton University