Over 750,000 U.S. teens become pregnant every year, with American teens experiencing much higher pregnancy rates than those in France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Teen pregnancy is likely to have negative consequences for both the mother and the child: it makes it harder for teens to complete high school and college, and comes with a higher risk of low birth weight and premature birth for the infant. And teen pregnancy costs taxpayers over $9 billion dollars every year.
What’s more, the vast majority (82 percent) of teen pregnancies are unplanned: most teen parents would have preferred to have kids later in their lives, at a time when they are more prepared to be parents. We owe teens access to the tools they need to protect themselves from pregnancies they aren’t ready for.
To prevent pregnancy, teens need youth-friendly services and complete, accurate information about abstinence, condoms, and contraception in order to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy.
But they also need to be able to envision a positive future for themselves: one in which education, employment, and healthy relationships are possible. Preventing teen pregnancy is a challenge that teens, parents, youth serving professionals, policy makers, and society as a whole must face.
Read on to learn more about teen pregnancy in America: Causes, costs, and prevention.
Adolescent Pregnancy and Protective Behaviors (Advocates for Youth)
By the Numbers: The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing (The National Campaign to End Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy)
The National Campaign: State and national information on teen pregnancy and prevention strategies (The National Campaign to End Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy)
U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State (Guttmacher Institute)
Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity (Guttmacher Institute) (PDF)