About Teen Pregnancy
Since 1991, the US teen birth rate (births for 1,000 females between 15 and 19 years old) has been falling. The teen birth rate continued to fall from 17.4 for 1,000 females in 2018 down to 16.7 for 1,000 in 2019. This is another record low in the US for teens, with a decline of 4% in 2019 from 17.4 per 1,000 females in 2018 to 16.7 per 1000 females in 2019.
Although the causes of these declines remain elusive, evidence suggests that more teens are abstaining and more teens are using birthcontrol.3, 4
The US teen birthrate is still significantly higher than other industrialized countries5, and there are still racial/ethnic as well as geographic disparities in teen rates.1,2
There are differences in the rates of teenage births
The 2018-2019 decline in teen births was due to several factors, including Hispanics and Hispanics.1,2 Teen birth rates have declined among 15- to 19 year-olds.
Hispanic Females: 5.2%
5.8% non-Hispanic White women
Non-Hispanic Black Females: 1.9%
Rates of non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN), non Hispanic Asians, non Hispanic Native Hawaiians, as well as other Pacific Islander teenagers, remained unchanged.
Hispanic teens had a higher birth rate (25.3), than non-Hispanic Black teens (34.8), in 2019 than non-Hispanic White teens (11.4). The highest birth rate among all races/ethnicities was the American Indian/Alaska Native teenagers (29.2).
There are still differences between the states and their geographic teen birth rates. Some counties have high rates of teen birth, even though there are low teen births rates in most states.6
High teen birth rates may be due to social determinants such as low education or low income of teens. For example, young foster mothers are twice as likely than other young women to get pregnant.
The CDC uses data to help inform and direct resources and interventions to the most in need areas to improve the lives of adolescents who are facing serious health issues.
Prevention is important
Teen pregnancy, childbearing, and other reproductive issues can have a significant impact on the social and economic well-being of teens.
High school dropout rates for girls are strongly linked to pregnancies and births. About 50% of teenage mothers graduate high school by the age of 22. However, approximately 90% of those who have not given birth in their teens graduate high school.
Teenage mothers have a higher chance of having lower academic achievement, dropping out of high school, more health problems, being incarcerated during adolescence, giving birth as a teenager, or facing unemployment as an adult.
Positive note: Between 1991 and 2015, the teens’ birthrate dropped 64%. This resulted in $4.4 Billion in public savings for 2015 alone.12
The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Teen Pregnancy Prevention Evidence Reviewexternal image has identified evidence-based teen prevention programs. This review used a systematic approach to reviewing evaluation studies against a stringent standard. The Evidence Review includes programs that focus on sexuality, youth development, abstinence education, clinic-based programs and programs designed specifically for different populations. Teens require access to youth-friendly, preventive health services. They also need support from parents, trusted adults, and others who can help them make wise decisions about sex, relationships, birth control, and sexuality. It is crucial to address the social and economic disparities that teens experience during pregnancy.