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Teen Pregnancy in the U.S. – You Are Not Alone

For those of you who may be feeling alone and wondering how many other young girls are facing an unplanned pregnancy as you are, I thought I’d share some statistics with you. As you can see, you are clearly not the only teen making the tough decisions that you are faced with today. Unplanned pregnancy happens in every state: Mississippi, Texas, California, Maine, Illinois. Teen girls become pregnant every day in the United States. Imagine if no one in your situation ever thought to choose adoption. Imagine the enormous number of young women who, statistically, would never finish high school or attend college. The amount of money that taxpayers would have to contribute so these young mothers and their children could have food and medical care would be astonishing. While this data regarding unplanned pregnancy among teens is shocking, there are options available that offer both you and your baby a successful future. Choosing adoption, not abortion, saves more than just one life.

Teen birth rates differ substantially by age, racial and ethnic group, and region of the country. Most adolescents who give birth are 18 or older; in 2012, 72 percent of all teen births occurred to 18- to 19-year-olds.[1] Birth rates are also higher among Hispanic and black adolescents than among their white counterparts. In 2012, Hispanic adolescent females ages 15-19 had the highest birth rate (46.3 births per 1,000 adolescent females), followed by black adolescent females (43.9 births per 1,000 adolescent females) and white adolescent females (20.5 births per 1,000 adolescent females) (see Figure 1).[1] Estimates from 2010 data show that one in seven adolescent females (14.4%) in the United States will give birth by her 20th birthday, with substantial differences by race/ethnicity: 10 percent of white adolescent females, 21 percent of black adolescent females, and 24 percent of Hispanic adolescent females.[3]

Although Hispanics currently have the highest teen birth rates, they have also the most dramatic recent decline in rates.  Since 2007, the teen birth rate has declined by 39% for Hispanics, compared with declines of 29% for blacks and 25% for whites.[4]

Figure 1: Birth rates per 1,000 females ages 15-19, by race/ethnicity, 1990-2012

Source: Hamilton, B. E., Martin, J. A., & Ventura, S. J.(2013). Births: Preliminary data for 2012. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.

Substantial geographic variation also exists in adolescent childbearing across the United States. In 2010, the lowest teen birth rates were reported in the Northeast, while rates were highest in states across the southern part of the country (see Figure 2).[10]See how your state compares on birth rates, pregnancy rates, sexual activity, and contraceptive use with OAH’s reproductive health state fact sheets

Source: Martin, J. A., Hamilton, B. E., Ventura, S. J., & Osterman, M. J. K. (2013).Births: Final data for 2011. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.