Home | Teen Help and Teen Issues Articles | Get Teen Help for a Troubled Teen with Boarding Schools, Residential Treatment...CLICK HERE!
Information you should know about troubled teens
» Need teen help?
» What is normal?
» What are warning signs?
» Troubled Teen Programs
» Teen Drug Abuse
» Troubled Teen Issues
» Teen Mental Health
» Other Resources
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.

  • Teen mothers are less likely to graduate from high school.
  • Teen mothers are more likely than women who delay child bearing to live in poverty and to require public assistance.
  • Children of teen mothers are more likely to be born at low birth weight, to have health and developmental problems, and to be abused and/or neglected.
  • The cost of teen pregnancy amounts to an estimated $7 billion annually in lost tax revenues, public assistance, health care, and other costs.

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.

  • About 25 percent of teen girls who give birth have another baby within two years.
  • Between 11 and 12 percent of all U.S. births are to teenage mothers.
  • Almost one-third of sexually experienced teenage girls (31 percent) have been pregnant at least once.
  • About one in eight sexually experienced teen boys (13 percent) have caused a pregnancy.
  • Some 46 percent of girls who first had sex before age 15 have been pregnant, compared with 25 percent who first had sex at age 15 or older.
  • About 37 percent of teen girls who have had three or more sex partners have been pregnant, while 25 percent of those with one or two sex partners have been pregnant.
  • Not surprisingly, 43 percent of girls who did not use contraception the first time they had sex have been pregnant, compared to 27 percent of those who did use contraception the first time they had sex.

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.

Related Article: Teen Pregnancy Prevention >>

Copyright© 2009 - Troubled Teen 101 - Help For Troubled Teen Issues privacy policy | terms of use | about troubled teens | contact us | We offer Teen Help Solutions through Residential Treatment Centers, Boarding Schools, and Specialty Private Schools for Troubled Teens.