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Even though the teen pregnancy rate has declined over the past few decades, the fact of the matter is that the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate of the Western industrialized world. It is true that the teen pregnancy and birth rate was much higher prior to 1980 (and especially in the 1950s and 1960s), but at the time young women were getting married and having children before the age of 20. Most of the teen pregnancies occurring before 1980 were to married women; now most of today's teen mothers are unwed. Here are some more interesting teen pregnancy statistics:

How many teens are becoming pregnant? 

  • Despite declines in rates of teen pregnancy in the U.S., about 820,000 teens become pregnant each year. That means that 34 percent of teenagers have at least one pregnancy before they turn 20. 
  • 79 percent of teenagers who become pregnant are unmarried. 
  • Utah's teen pregnancy rate is high, as well as Southern teen pregnancy but these are areas where women still get married prior to the age of 20 with some regularity (although this is changing). 
  • 80 percent of teenage pregnancies are unintended. 
  • Nearly four in ten teenage girls whose first intercourse experience happened at 13 or 14 report that the sex was unwanted or involuntary. 
  • The main rise in the teen pregnancy rate is among girls younger than 15* 
  • Close to 25 percent of teen mothers have a second child within two years of the first birth.*

Social, educational and financial costs of teen pregnancy 

  • The United State spends $7 billion each year due to the costs of teen pregnancy. 
  • Only one-third of teenage mothers complete high school and receive their diplomas 
  • By age 30, only 1.5 percent of women who had pregnancies as a teenager have a college degree. 
  • 80 percent of unmarried teen mothers end up on welfare 
  • Within the first year of becoming teen mothers, one-half of unmarried teen mothers go on welfare.* 
  • The daughters of teen mothers are 22 percent more likely than their peers to become teen mothers. 
  • Sons of teenaged mothers have a 13 percent greater chance of ending up in prison as compared to their peers.

How much greater is the U.S. teen pregnancy rate than other countries?*

  • Greater teen pregnancy rates translate into higher abortion in the United States for the industrialized world. 
  • The U.S. has twice the teen pregnancy rate as Canada 
  • Both Germany and France have a teen pregnancy rate that is four times lower than the U.S. 
  • Japan's teen pregnancy rate is eight times lower the United States

What do teens think of sexual activity?* 

  • 82 percent feel that teens should not be sexually active.
  • 72 percent agreed that teens that are sexually active should have access to birth control. 
  • 73 percent feel that being a virgin should not be embarrassing 
  • 58 percent feel that high-school age teens should not be sexually active 
  • Fewer than one half of teens in high school have had sex 
  • 67 percent of teens who have had sex wish that they had waited (60 percent of boys and 77 percent of girls).

Teen Pregnancy Statistics Source:

  1. "Teen Pregnancy Statistics and Teen Pregnancy Facts," FamilyFirstAid. [Online.]

* "Facts and Stats," The National Campaign to Prevent Teen

 Teen Pregnancy Statistics: Related Pages
  • Teen Pregnancy Risks
  • The Reasons Teens Get Pregnant
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