10 Teen Pregnancy Facts

Rates and Statistics in the U.S.

Although teen pregnancy rates are on the decline, the United States still has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the developed worlds. According to a  2014 report by the Guttmacher Institute, the following statistics characterize teenage pregnancy in the US:

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Over 615,000 teens between 15 and 19 become pregnant each year.

Keenan Cahill & Ciara Perform In Honor Of National Teen Pregnancy Awareness Month
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That means nearly 6% of girls aged 15–19 become pregnant each year.

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Teen mothers account for 8% of all births in the US.

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In 2011, there were 334,000 births among women aged 19 or younger. This figure is down 3% in the past decade.  

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Most teens pregnancies are unplanned.

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Out of all teen pregnancies, 82% are unintended. Teen pregnancy accounts for about 20% of all unplanned pregnancies annually.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that "research shows that teens who talk with their parents about sex, relationships, birth control and pregnancy begin to have sex at later age, use condoms and birth control more often if they do have sex, have better communication with romantic partners, have sex less often."

Information helps to combat ignorance. Check out Planned Parenthood's Tool for Parents for resources on how to speak to teens about sex. 

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Two-thirds of teen pregnancies occur among teens 18-19 years old.

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Relatively few teens get pregnant before the age of 15: in 2010, 5.4 pregnancies occurred per 1,000 teens aged 14 or younger. That is, fewer than 1% of teens younger than 15 become pregnant each year.

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Out of all teen pregnancies, 60% end in birth.

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Another 15% end in miscarriage, up 1% from over a decade ago.

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Out of all teenage pregnancies, 26% are terminated by abortion, down from 29% over a decade ago.

Teens are sometimes dissuaded from seeking abortions because of dishonest pregnancy crisis centers. However, a recent law passed in California has made their work just a bit harder and will possibly have ripple effects across the country. 

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Hispanic teens have the highest teen birth rate.

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In 2013, Hispanic adolescent females ages 15-19 had the highest birth rate (41.7 births per 1,000 adolescent females), followed by black adolescent females (39.0 births per 1,000 adolescent females) and white adolescent females (18.6 births per 1,000 adolescent females).

Nevertheless, while Hispanics currently have the highest teen birth rates, they have also had a dramatic recent decline in rates. Since 2007, the teen birth rate has declined by 45% for Hispanics, compared with declines of 37% for blacks and 32% for whites.

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Teens who become pregnant are less likely to attend college.

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Although teenage mothers today are more likely to finish high school or earn their GEDs than in the past, pregnant teens are less likely to attend college than teens who do not become pregnant.

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US teen pregnancy rates are higher than many other developed countries.

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For example, the US teenage pregnancy rate is more than twice as high as rates in Canada (28 per 1,000 women aged 15–19 in 2006) and Sweden (31 per 1,000).

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Teen pregnancy rates have been steadily declining for the past two decades.

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The teen pregnancy rate reached an all-time high in 1990 with an estimated 116.9 per thousand and an all-time high birth rate of 61.8 births per thousand in 1991. By 2002, the pregnancy rate had dropped to 75.4 per thousand - a decline of 36%. While there was a  a 3% increase in teenage pregnancy from 2005 to 2006, the 2010 rate was a record low and represented a 51% decline from the peak rate seen in 1990.

The decline in teen pregnancy rates is due primarily to teens’ improved contraceptive use.

Source:
Facts on American Teens' Sexual and Reproductive Health. Guttmacher Institute September 2014.

Edited by Susana Morris