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Teenage Pregnancy

• More than 10 percent of all U.S. births in 2006 were to mothers under age 20 (2). Most teenage births
(about 67 percent) are to girls ages 18 and 19 (2).
• The pregnancy rate for teenagers fell 40 percent between 1990 and 2005 (from 116.8 to 70.6 per
1,000) (4). However, in 2005, about 725,000 teens ages 15 to 19 became pregnant, and about
415,000 give birth (4).
• About 3 in 10 teenage girls become pregnant at least once before age 20 (3).
• The teenage birth rate increased in 2006 and 2007. Between 2005 and 2007, the rate rose 5 percent
(from 41 to 42.5 per 1,000 women) (1). This increase follows a 14-year decline between 1991 and
2005, when the rate fell by one-third (from 62 to 41 per 1,000 women) (1, 2). In 2007, about 4 in 100
teenage girls had a baby.
• About 1 in 4 teen mothers under age 18 have a second baby within 2 years after the birth of their first
baby (3).
• Teen mothers are more likely than mothers over age 20 to give birth prematurely (before 37
completed weeks of pregnancy). Between 2003 and 2005, preterm birth rates averaged 14.5 percent
for women under age 20 compared to 11.9 percent for women ages 20 to 29 (5). Babies born
prematurely face an increased risk of newborn health problems, long-term disabilities and even
• Only 40 percent of teenagers who have children before age 18 go on to graduate from high school,
compared to 75 percent of teens from similar social and economic backgrounds who do not give birth
until ages 20 or 21 (3).
• more than 75 percent of all unmarried teen mothers go on welfare within 5 years of the birth of their
first child
• The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrialized world -- twice as
high as in England or Canada and eight times as high as in the Netherlands or Japan.
• Among black teens, the pregnancy rate declined by 45% (from 223.8 per 1,000 in 1990 to 122.7 in
2005), before increasing to 126.3 in 2006.
• Among Hispanic teens, the pregnancy rate decreased by 26% (from 169.7 per 1,000 in 1992 to
124.9 in 2005), before rising to 126.6 in 2006.
• Among non-Hispanic white teens, the pregnancy rate declined 50% (from 86.6 per 1,000 in 1990 to
43.3 per 1,000 in 2005), before increasing to 44.0 in 2006.
• Teen mothers are likely to have a second birth relatively soon -- about one-fourth of teenage
mothers have a second child within 24 months of the first birth -- which can further impede their ability
to finish school or keep a job, and to escape poverty.
• Eight out of ten fathers don't marry the mother of their child. These absent fathers pay less than
$800 annually for child support, often because they are poor themselves. Children who live apart from
their fathers are also five times more likely to be poor than children with both parents at home.
• The daughters of young teen mothers are three times more likely to become teen mothers
• The sons of teen mothers are twice as likely to end up in prison.

Teen Pregnancy in the Media

• Famous Teen Mothers
o Jamie Lynn Spears
o Bristol Palin
o Solange Knowles (married and divorced)

• Teen Pregnancy in Film/TV

o 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom on MTV
o Pregnancy Pact- Lifetime
o Juno
o The Baby Borrowers- NBC
o The Secret Life of an American Teenager- ABC Family

What kind of impression do these examples in the media give of teen pregnancy?

Schools and Teen Pregnancy

Polly McCabe School and Hill Health Center – New Haven, CT
An average of 200 girls attend the school each year and well below 10 percent drop out. Equally
impressive is a repeat pregnancy rate of only 8 percent.
Before McCabe, teenage girls were required to leave public school by the twenty-eighth week of their
pregnancies. If they wanted to continue their studies, they did so at home. Many dropped out.

Lincoln Park School – Brownsville, TX

The school provides flexible schedules and alternatives for making up credit to pregnant girls and new
mothers, and staff members succeed in helping more than 100 girls to graduate each year with little
Between 225 and 250 girls transition through the school each year. McClure says that this represents
about half of the reported pregnancies in the district, and there are likely many more pregnant teens who
simply drop out without disclosing this to school administrators

Infant Care Center at Groveton High School - Fairfax County, VA

The doors to the infant center were opened in 1983 by Joan Hartman, child development teacher and co-
founder of the program, and Pam Robinson, the center director. They received a $15,000 grant from the
March of Dimes for room renovation and the purchase of baby equipment. Groveton High School
provides the space and utilities. The mothers provide their own formula, baby food and diapers. Their
child care and transportation are subsidized through the Fairfax County Department of Social Services.

School Age Mothers (SAM) Program- Worcester, MA

Pregnant and parenting teens can continue their education at the Gerald Creamer Center, an alternative
school of the Worcester Public Schools, while learning about pregnancy and parenting issues that are
important for mother and child. The SAM program allows individuals to share with, and get support from,
other pregnant teens and an understanding and knowledgeable staff.

Lakeside Girls Academy – Philadelphia, PA

A school which allow pregnant or recently pregnant girls to continue their education, while receiving low-
cost care for their babies. Life for the students at the Girls Academy may be different, but it offers a
realistic alternative for young mothers who make the choice to keep their babies.;col1