Teen pregnancy rates in the United States declined steadily from 1991 to 2005—from 60 out of 1000 teenagers in 1991 to 40.5 out of 1000 in 2005. In 2006, however, the teen pregnancy rate increased to about 42 out of 1000. Approximately one-third of young women in the United States become pregnant during their teens. More than 80% of teen pregnancies are unintended and unintentional. The highest teen birth rate occurs in Hispanic women (83 out of 1000 in 2006).
Declining teen pregnancy rates are thought to be attributed to more effective birth control practice and decreased sexual activity among teens. The most dramatic reduction in teen pregnancy—23%—has occurred among African American teenagers.
In addition to increased health risks, children born to teenage mothers are more likely to experience social, emotional, and other problems. These problems include the following:
- Children born to teenage mothers are less likely to receive proper nutrition, health care, and cognitive and social stimulation. As a result, they are at risk for lower academic achievement.
- Children born to teenage mothers are at increased risk for abuse and neglect.
- Boys born to teenage mothers are 13% more likely to be incarcerated later in life.
- Girls born to teenage mothers are 22% more likely to become teenage mothers themselves