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Teenage pregnancy, birth, and abortion. (Fact Sheet).

Pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates among teenagers in the United States have declined over the past decade but still remain an endemic public health issue.

Reasons for the decline include the increased motivation of youth to achieve higher levels of education; the availability of comprehensive sexuality education in schools, leading to young people's knowledge about contraception; more effective contraceptive use, and improved ability to negotiate contraceptive practice; and greater social support for services related to both pregnancy and disease prevention among adolescents. (1)

Despite the decline, young women of color are disproportionately affected by teenage childbearing. In 2000, the birth rates for African American teenagers were reported as the lowest ever in the 40 years for which data for African American women are available. However, the rates for Hispanic teenagers remained the highest for any population group. (2)

PREGNANCY

Although pregnancy rates among adolescents have steadily declined in the past decade, the United States continues to have the highest adolescent pregnancy rates among industrialized nations.

* Each year in United States, 800,000 to 900,000 adolescents 19 years of age or younger become pregnant (3)

* The pregnancy rate for teenagers 15 to 19 years of age fell 19 percent from 116 per 1,000 in 1991 to 94.3 in 1997, reversing an 11 percent rise from 1986 to 1991 (4)

* From 1995 to 1997, the pregnancy rate for 15- to 19- year-olds decreased in 41 of the 43 reported geographic areas for which age-specific data were available (5)

* During 1995 to 1997, the pregnancy rate declined by 11.3 percent among females less than 15 years of age, by 10.7 percent among females 15 to 17 years of age, and by 5.8 percent among females 18 to 19 years of age (6)

* For each year from 1995 to 1997, the pregnancy rate for females 18 to 19 years of age was approximately 2.5 times that of females 15 to 17 years of age, and the rate for females less than 15 years of age was approximately one ninth that of females 15 to 17 years of age (7)

* From 1995 to 1997, the national number of pregnancies among females 15 to 19 years of age declined by 3.1 percent (8)

* In 1996, the pregnancy rate for females 15 to 19 years of age in the United States was 83.6 per 1,000 compared to: (9)

* 1995--France 20.2 per 1,000

* 1996--Sweden 25.0 per 1,000

* 1995--Canada 45.7 per 1,000

* 1995--Great Britain 46.7 per 1,000

* In 1995, 14 percent of all sexually experienced males 15 to 19 years old were involved in a pregnancy. This included 10 percent of sexually experienced White males; 19 percent of sexually experienced Latino males; 22 percent of sexually experienced African American males. (10)

PREGNANCY RATES BY RACE/ETHNICITY

Despite the recent decline of pregnancy rates in the United States, young women of color continue to be disproportionately affected. In addition, adolescent pregnancy does not affect all communities in the same way. For example, while African American teens have experienced the greatest recent decline in pregnancy rates, those among Latina teens have not declined as significantly.

All Women

* In 1997, 2.6 per 1,000 women under the age of 15 became pregnant compared with 3.5 per 1,000 in 1990 (11)

* In 1997, 63.7 per 1,000 women 15 to 17 years of age became pregnant compared with 80.3 per 1,000 in 1990 (12)

* In 1997, 141.7 per 1,000 women 18 to 19 years of age became pregnant compared with 162.4 per 1,000 in 1990 (13)

White Non-Hispanic Women

* In 1997, 1.1 per 1,000 White women under the age of 15 became pregnant compared with 1.5 per 1,000 in 1990 (14)

* In 1997, 41.1 per 1,000 White women 15 to 17 years of age became pregnant compared with 56.3 per 1,000 in 1990 (15)

* In 1997, 102.4 per 1,000 White women 18 to 19 years of age became pregnant compared with 126.4 per 1,000 in 1990 (16)

African American Women

* In 1997, 7.7 per 1,000 African American women under the age of 15 became pregnant compared with 11.8 per 1,000 in 1990 (17)

* In 1997, 119.8 per 1,000 African American women 15 to 17 years of age became pregnant compared with 165 per 1,000 in 1990 (18)

* In 1997,248 per 1,000 African American women 18 to 19 years of age became pregnant compared with 295.3 per 1,000 in 1990 (19)

Hispanic Women

* In 1997, 3.9 per 1,000 Hispanic women under the age of 15 became pregnant compared with 4 per 1,000 in 1990 (20)

* In 1997, 99.1 per 1,000 Hispanic women 15 to 17 years of age became pregnant compared with 101 per 1,000 in 1990 (21)

* In 1997, 223.7 per 1,000 Hispanic women 18 to 19 years of age became pregnant compared with 231.4 per 1,000 in 1990 (22)

BIRTH

Like pregnancy rates, birth rates among adolescents in the United States have dropped in recent years. However, the rate continues to be more than four times that of many industrialized nations.

* In 2000, the United States had 48.7 births per 1,000 women 15 to 19 years of age. According to the latest available data, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland each had less than 10 births per 1,000 women 15 to 19 years of age. (23)

* The birth rate for females 10 to 14 years of age remained unchanged in 2000 with 0.9 births per 1,000. However, the number of births to females 10 to 14 years of age dropped 6 percent from 1999 to 2000, to 8,519; the lowest total reported in any year since 1966 (8,128). (24)

* Between 1999 and 2000, the birth rate for females 15 to 17 years of age declined 5 percent to 27.4 per 1,000, an all-time low, and 29 percent per 1,000 from 1991 (38.7) to 2000 (25)

* In 2000, the birth rate for females 18 to 19 years of age declined 1 percent to 79.2 per 1,000. Since 1992, when the rate reached its recent high (94.5), it has declined 16 percent and is at its lowest point in more than a decade (78.5 in 1987). (26)

* The birth rate for females 15 to 19 years of age declined 2 percent to 48.5 per 1,000 in 2000, another record low for the nation. This rate has declined 22 percent from 1991 when the rate reached a peak (62.1). (27)

* From 1991 to 2000, birth rates for Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and "other" Hispanic teenagers fell by 6 to 13 percent each, while rates for American Indian and Asian Pacific Islander teenagers fell 20 to 21 percent, rates for non-Hispanic White teens fell 24 percent, and rates for African American teenagers fell 31 percent. The rate for African American teenagers in 2000 is an historic low (data available since 1960). (28)

* In 1995, 22 percent of women 20 through 24 years of age in the United States had a child before age 20 in comparison to: (29)

* 1996-Sweden: 4 percent

* 1994-France: 6 percent

* 1995-Canada: 11 percent

* 1990-1991-Great Britain: 15 percent

BIRTH RATES BY RACE/ETHNICITY

In recent years, birth rates among all races/ethnicities have declined, with young African American women experiencing the largest drop among all races/ethnicities.

All Women

* In 2000, the birth rate for women 10 to 14 years of age was 0.9 per 1,000 compared with 1.4 per 1,000 in 1990 (30)

* In 2000, the birth rate for women 15 to 17 years of age was 27.4 per 1,000 compared with 37.5 per 1,000 in 1990 (31)

* In 2000, the birth rate for women 18 to 19 years of age was 79.2 per 1,000 compared with 88.6 per 1,000 in 1990 (32)

White Women

* In 2000, the birth rate for White women 10 to 14 years of age was 0.6 per 1,000 compared with 0.7 per 1,000 in 1990 (33)

* In 2000, the birth rate for White women 15 to 17 years of age was 23.6 per 1,000 compared with 29.5 per 1,000 in 1990 (34)

* In 2000, the birth rate for White women 18 to 19 years of age was 72.7 per 1,000 compared with 78.0 per 1,000 in 1990 (35)

African American Women

* In 2000, the birth rate for African American women 10 to 14 years of age was 2.4 per 1,000 compared with 4.9 per 1,000 in 1990 (36)

* In 2000, the birth rate for African American women 15 to 17 years of age was 50.4 per 1,000 compared with 82.3 per 1,000 in 1990 (37)

* In 2000, the birth rate for African American women 18 to 19 years of age was 121.3 per 1,000 compared with 152.9 per 1,000 in 1990 (38)

American Indian Women

* In 2000, the birth rate for American Indian women 10 to 14 years of age was 1.3 per 1,000 compared with 1.6 per 1,000 in 1990 (39)

* In 2000, the birth rate for American Indian women 15 to 17 years of age was 39.6 per 1,000 compared with 48.5 per 1,000 in 1990 (40)

* In 2000, the birth rate for American Indian women 18 to 19 years of age was 113.1 per 1,000 compared with 129.3 per 1,000 in 1990 (41)

Asian or Pacific Islander Women

* In 2000, the birth rate for Asian or Pacific Islander women 10 to 14 years of age was 0.3 per 1,000 compared with 0.7 per 1,000 in 1990 (42)

* In 2000, the birth rate for Asian or Pacific Islander women with 16 per 1,000 in 1990 (43)

* In 2000, the birth rate for Asian or Pacific Islander women 18 to 19 years of age was 37 per 1,000 compared with 40.2 per 1,000 in 1990 (44)

Unmarried Women

* During 1999-2000, birth rates for unmarried women 15 to 17 years of age declined 4 percent to 24.4 per 1,000 (45)

* During 1999-2000 the birth rate for unmarried women 18 to 19 years of age dropped by approximately 1 percent to 62.9 per 1,000 (46)

* Between 1999 and 2000, birth rates for unmarried non-Hispanic women 15 to 19 years of age fell 4 percent and the rates for unmarried African American women 15 to 19 years of age fell 2 percent while the rate for Hispanic women 15 to 19 years of age increased approximately 1 percent (47)

BIRTH RATES BY AGE AND RACE OF FATHER

There is very little information available regarding males involved with teen pregnancies and births.

* In 2000, the birth rate for all males 15 to 19 years of age was 20.2 per 1,000 compared with 23.5 per 1,000 in 1990 (48)

* In 2000, the birth rate for all White males 15 to 19 years of age was 16.8 per 1,000 compared with 18.1 per 1,000 in 1990 (49)

* In 2000, the birth rate for all African American males 15 to 19 years of age was 40.1 per 1,000 compared with 55.2 per 1,000 in 1990 (50)

ABORTION

Not all states collect data on abortion. Therefore, it is not possible to track trends for the entire country. Based on the data that is available, abortions rates are declining. Still, as with adolescent pregnancy and birth rates, abortion rates for teens in the United States remain higher than in other industrialized nations.

* From 1995 to 1997, the abortion rate for females 15 to 19 years of age decreased in 32 of the 43 geographic areas within the United States for which age-specific data were available (51)

* From 1995 to 1997, the abortion rate decreased 3.9 percent among females younger than 15 years of age (from 2.8 to 2.7 per 1,000), 10.1 percent among females 15 to 17 years of age (from 18.2 to 16.3 per 1,000), and 5.4 percent among females 18 to 19 years of age (from 39.6 to 37.5 per 1,000) (52)

* From 1995 to 1997, in 25 of the 31 geographic areas where both birth and abortion rates decreased, the decrease in abortion rates exceeded the decline in birth rates (53)

* In 1996, the abortion rate for females 15 to 19 years of age in the United States was 29.2 per 1,000 compared to (54)

* 1995--France 10.2 per 1,000

* 1996--Sweden 17.2 per 1,000

* 1995--Great Britain 18.4 per 1,000

* 1995--Canada 21.2 per 1,000

From 1995 to 1997, in 25 of the 31 geographic areas where both birth and abortion rates decreased, the decrease in abortion rates exceeded the decline in birth rates (54)

ABORTION RATES BY RACE/ETHNICITY

All Women

* In 1997, 1 per 1,000 women under the age of 15 had induced abortions compared with 1.5 per 1,000 in 1990 (55)

* In 1997, 17.4 per 1,000 women 15 to 17 years of age had induced abortions compared with 26.5 per 1,000 in 1990 (56)

* In 1997, 43.1 per 1,000 women 18 to 19 years of age had induced abortions compared with 57.9 per 1,000 in 1990 (57)

White Non-Hispanic Women

* In 1997, 0.5 per 1,000 White women under the age of 15 had induced abortions compared with 0.8 per 1,000 in 1990 {58)

* In 1997, 11.6 per 1,000 White women 15 to 17 years of age had induced abortions compared with 21 per 1,000 in 1990 (59)

* In 1997, 28.4 per 1,000 White women 18 to 19 years of age had induced abortions compared with 46.5 per 1,000 in 1990 (60)

African American Women

* In 1997, 3.4 per 1,000 African American women under the age of 15 had induced abortions compared with 5.4 per 1,000 in 1990 (61)

* In 1997, 40.6 per 1,000 African American women 15 to 17 years of age had induced abortions compared with 57.7 per 1,000 in 1990 (62)

* In 1997, 96.7 per 1,000 African American women 18 to 19 years of age had induced abortions compared with 117.4 per 1,000 in 1990 (63)

Hispanic Women

* In 1997, 1.2 per 1,000 Hispanic women under the age of 15 had induced abortions compared with 1.1 per 1,000 in 1990 (64)

* In 1997, 21.9 per 1,000 Hispanic women 15 to 17 years of age had induced abortions compared with 24.3 per 1,000 in 1990 (65)

* In 1997, 55.7 per 1,000 Hispanic women 18 to 19 years of age had induced abortions compared with 59.5 per 1,000 in 1990 (66)

WHAT TEENS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT TEEN PREGNANCY

* 88 percent of teens 12 to 19 years of age think the number of teenage pregnancies in the United States is a serious problem (67)

* Approximately 87 percent of teens 12 to 19 years of age say the teens they know think avoiding pregnancy is important (68)

* Approximately 41 percent of teens 12 to 19 years of age say they have learned the most about preventing teen pregnancy from teachers and sexuality educators, and 34 percent say they have learned about preventing teen pregnancy from parents and other adults (69)

* Approximately 63 percent of teens 12 to 19 years of age believe that other than teens themselves, parents, and adults are most responsible for fixing the problem of teen pregnancy (70)

* Approximately 67 percent of teens 12 to 19 years of age feel that if they were to offer advice to leaders in Washington regarding teen pregnancy, they would suggest greater emphasis on both encouraging teens not to have sexual relations and on birth control or protection (71)

* Approximately 85 percent of teens 12 to 19 years of age feel that there has been more focus on preventing teen pregnancy in the past five years (72)

PREGNANCY RISKS AND OUTCOMES

* 94 percent of teens believe that if they were involved in a pregnancy they would stay in school; in reality, 70 percent eventually complete high school (73)

* 51 percent of teens believe that if they were involved in a pregnancy they would marry the mother/father; in reality, 81 percent of teenage births are to unmarried teens (74)

* 26 percent of teens believe that they would need welfare to support a child; in reality 56 percent receive public assistance to cover the cost of delivery and 25 percent of teen mothers receive public assistance by their early twenties (75)

* 32 percent of teens say they would consider an abortion; in reality, 50 percent of pregnancies to unmarried teens end in abortion (76)

REFERENCES

(1.) Facts in Brief, Teenagers' Sexual and Reproductive Health: Developed Countries (New York, NY: The Alan Guttmacher Institute), www.agi-usa.org/pubs/fb_teens.html

(2.) S. J. Ventura, T. J. Mathews, and B. E. Hamilton, "Births to Teenagers in the United States, 1940-2000," National Vital Statistics Reports (Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2001), September 25, vol. 49, no. 10, p. 4.

(3.) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "National and State-Specific Pregnancy Rates among Adolescents--United States, 1995-1997," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, July 14, 2000, vol. 49, no. 27, p. 605.

(4.) J.A. Martin, B. E. Hamilton, S.J.Ventura, et al., "Births: Final Data for 2000," National Vital Statistics Reports (Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2002), February 12, vol. 50, no. 5, p. 6.

(5.) CDC, "National and State-Specific Pregnancy Rates among Adolescents--United States, 1995-1997," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, p. 607.

(6.) Ibid, p. 606.

(7.) Ibid.

(8.) Ibid.

(9.) J. E. Darroch, S. Singh, J. J. Frost, and the Study Team, "Differences in Teenage Pregnancy Rates among Five Developed Countries: The Roles of Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use," Family Planning Perspectives, November/December 2001, vol. 33, no. 6, p. 246.

(10.) F. L. Sonenstein, K. Stewart, L. D. Lindberg, M. Pernas, and S. Williams, Involving Males in Preventing Teen Pregnancy: A Guide for Program Planners (Washington, DC: The Urban Institute, 1997), p 24.

(11.) S. J. Ventura, W. D. Mosher, S. C. Curtin, J. C. Abma, and S. Henshaw, "Trends in Pregnancy Rates for the United States, 1976-97: An Update," National Vital Statistics Reports (Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2001), June 6, vol. 49, no. 4., p 5.

(12.) Ibid.

(13.) Ibid.

(14.) Ibid.

(15.) Ibid.

(16.) Ibid.

(17.) Ibid., p. 6.

(18.) Ibid.

(19.) Ibid.

(20.) Ibid., p.7.

(21.) Ibid.

(22.) Ibid.

(23.) S. J. Ventura, T. J. Mathews, et al., "Births to Teenagers in the United States, 1940-2000," National Vital Statistics Reports, p.7.

(24.) J. A. Martin, B. E. Hamilton, et al., "Births: Final Data for 2000," National Vital Statistics Reports, p. 4.

(25.) Ibid, p.5.

(26.) Ibid.

(27.) Ibid., p.4.

(28.) Ibid, p.5.

(29.) J.E. Darroch, S. Singh, et al., "Differences in Teenage Pregnancy Rates among Five Developed Countries: The Roles of Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use," p.246.

(30.) J.A. Martin, B. E. Hamilton, et al., "Births: Final Data for 2000," National Vital Statistics Reports, p. 30.

(31.) Ibid.

(32.) Ibid.

(33.) Ibid.

(34.) Ibid.

(35.) Ibid.

(36.) Ibid.

(37.) Ibid.

(38.) Ibid.

(39.) Ibid, p.31.

(40.) Ibid.

(41.) Ibid.

(42.) Ibid.

(43.) Ibid.

(44.) Ibid.

(45.) Ibid, p.9.

(46.) Ibid.

(47.) Ibid, p.50.

(48.) Ibid.

(49.) Ibid.

(50.) Ibid

(51.) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "National and State-Specific Pregnancy Rates among Adolescents--United States, 1995-1997," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, pp. 605-607.

(52.) Ibid.

(53.) J.E. Darroch, S. Singh, et al., "Differences in Teenage Pregnancy Rates among Five Developed Countries: The Roles of Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use," p. 246.

(54.) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "National and State-Specific Pregnancy Rates among Adolescents--United States, 1995-1997," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, p 607.

(55.) S.J. Ventura, W. D. Mosher, et al., "Trends in Pregnancy Rates for the United States, 1976-97: An Update," National Vital Statistics Reports, p 5.

(56.) Ibid.

(57.) Ibid.

(58.) Ibid., p.6.

(59.) Ibid.

(60.) Ibid.

(61.) Ibid.

(62.) Ibid.

(63.) Ibid.

(64.) Ibid, p.7.

(65.) Ibid.

(66.) Ibid.

(67.) The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, With One Voice: America's Adults and Teens Sound Off about Teen Pregnancy, A National Survey, April 2001, p. 4.

(68.) Ibid., p.13.

(69.) Ibid., p.18.

(70.) Ibid., p.20.

(71.) Ibid., p.25.

(72.) Ibid., p.28.

(73.) The Kaiser Family Foundation, What They Say Teens Today Need to Know, and Who They Listen To (Menlo Park, CA: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 1996), Chart Pack, Chart 6.

(74.) Ibid.

(75.) Ibid.

(76.) Ibid.
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