10 Things You Didn't Know About Pregnant Teenagers in America

Urban Pregnancy
These in-depth facts on teen pregnancy will astound you. ideabug / Getty Images

Teenage pregnancy is comprised of adolescent females under the age of 20. Some common risks of teenage pregnancy can include low iron levels, high blood pressure, and preterm labor. Teen pregnancies are problematic because they pose several health risks for the baby and children, and are more susceptible toward having medical, social, and emotional problems, in comparison to adult mothers.

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 U.S.

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Over 615,000 teens between 15 and 19 became pregnant in 2014.

Keenan Cahill & Ciara Perform In Honor Of National Teen Pregnancy Awareness Month
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In fact, in 2014, nearly 6% of girls aged 15–19 became pregnant each year. Luckily, that number went down in 2015 when 229,715 babies were reported to have been born. This is a record low for U.S. teens and an amazing 8% drop since 2014 statistics were released.

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

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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. Unfortunately, more than 50% of teen mothers never graduate from high school.

While teenage pregnancy rates are down, including birth and abortion declining in all U.S. states, the highest amount of teen pregnancies happen in New Mexico, while the fewest occur in New Hampshire.

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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 the following:

"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, and 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. Fewer than 1% of teens younger than 15 become pregnant each year.

There are unique risks at hand for pregnant teens under the age of 15. For example, they are more likely to not use contraception. They are also more likely to have sex with an older partner, who is at least six years older, during their first sexual experience. Pregnancies for extremely young girls often end in miscarriage or abortion, according to Dr. Marcela Smid.

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

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Roughly 17 percent of births in this age group belonged to women who already had one or more babies, and another 15 percent end in miscarriage, up 1% from over a decade ago.

About 16 million girls in this age group give birth every year. Complications from the pregnancy and childbirth are the second cause of death for this age group globally, and babies post a high risk than those in their 20's.

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Out of all teenage pregnancies, 26% are terminated by abortion, down from 29% over a decade ago. Sadly, about 3 million women experience unsafe abortions every year.

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).

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 GED than in the past, pregnant teens are less likely to attend college than teens who do not become pregnant. More specifically, only 40 percent of teen mothers complete high school, and less than two percent finish college before they are 30-years-old.

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U.S. teen pregnancy rates are higher than many other developed countries.

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Most teenage pregnant girls come from low and middle-income countries, and it is unlikely that pregnancies will decrease for teens experiencing poverty. Within the first year, half of teen mothers go on welfare to receive extra support.

The U.S. 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 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.