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Teen Pregnancy Statistics
What can statistics tell us about teen pregnancy? Do teen pregnancy statistics show an increase or decrease in the U.S.? What are the consequences of teen pregnancy? This article will review these questions plus give more facts about teenage pregnancy.
The United States has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and births in the western industrialized world. Teen pregnancy costs the United States at least $7 billion annually.
A review of teenage pregnancy statistics in the United States might well bring to mind a version of the old "good news ? bad news" routine.
The good news is U.S. teen pregnancy rates have fallen to their lowest levels in decades. The bad news is American teen girls aged 15-19 still become pregnant at a rate far higher than their counterparts in any other industrialized country.
According to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the following are among the consequences endured by teenage mothers, their children, and society.
But despite those risks, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports some 900,000 pregnancies occur each year among teen girls 15-19.
In 2001, the latest year for which pregnancy statistics are available, 84 of every 1,000 teen girls in the U.S. became pregnant, says the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. That's down from a high of 117 pregnancies per 1,000 teen girls aged 15-19 in 1991, a decline of more than 28 percent.
That falling U.S. teen pregnancy rate may sound very good, until it's compared to the rates of teen pregnancy in other countries. Planned Parenthood points out that American teens become pregnant at a rate 12 times higher than that of women in the Netherlands, where only about 6.9 per 1,000 aged 15-19 get pregnant each year.
As you might expect, the vast majority of teen pregnancies - about 4 out of 5 - are unintended, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to the study of reproductive health issues.
Here are some more facts about teenage pregnancy.
If you're a parent wondering just what percentage of American teens have had sex, it depends on who you ask. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says just under 50 percent of all high school students have had sex at least once. A slightly higher percentage of high school boys have had sex than high school girls, but both groups are just below 50 percent.
Surveying a similar population, the Alan Guttmacher Institute reports that 80 percent of Americans teens have had sex at least once by the time they reach their twentieth birthday.
Ironically, the success of the past 15 years in bringing down U.S. teen pregnancy rates may now serve to divert resources from that same effort, says the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. That progress - a decline of more than 28 percent in U.S. teen pregnancy rates between 1991 and 2001 - may have inadvertently convinced policy makers that allocating resources to prevent teen pregnancy is no longer a priority. The organization points out that a quick review of the data makes it clear that a major prevention effort is still needed.
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