The Impact of Teen Pregnancy on the American People Although the rate of teenage pregnancy in the United States has been on an overall decline, it remains the highest in the entire world. Teenage pregnancy is obviously still a problem in today's American society with roughly 97 per 1000 women aged 15-19, which rounds up to be roughly one million teenagers, becoming pregnant each year. Interestingly enough, 78% of these pregnancies are unintended. The births of these children are not only a problem for the parents and the families of the babies, but it is a huge problem and burden upon American Taxpayers. Taxpayers pay roughly 16.5 billion dollars every year to welfare and Medicaid programs to aid these young parents who are almost always incapable of taking full financial responsibility for the child.
21 Mar. 1999. http://www.teenpregnancy.org/govrates.htm>. Teen Pregnancy. Teen Pregnancy Facts and Stats. 21 Mar.
There is about 560,000 teenage girls give birth each year. Eight in ten of these births resulted from unintended pregnancies. Teenagers who become sexually active at an earlier age are at a greater risk primarily because teenagers are less likely to use birth control. “African-American and Hispanic teenagers are twice as likely to give birth as are white teenagers. Teenagers who come from underprivileged neighborhoods and attend segregated schools are at a higher risk for pregnancy” (Calhoun 309).
Several factors contribute to the current attention focused on teenage pregnancy and parenthood. There is currently a large number of young women in the 13 to 19 age range, so that while the birthrates are declining, the absolute number of teenagers is increasing. These statistics do not distinguish between intentional and unintentional pregnancies, or pregnancies occurring in or out of wedlock. From the 1978 figures, only one in six pregnancies concluded as births following marriage, and eight in ten premarital teenage pregnancies were unintended. The declining birthrate is not consistent for all teenagers: among those 14 or younger, the birthrate is increasing.
In the US, teen pregnancy rates have been decreasing in the last decade even though current rates remain twice as high as those found in other industrialized nations (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1994). In spite of decreasing rates, among African American teenagers, the pregnancy rate is particularly high. In 1996, the pregnancy rate was 178.9 per thousand among African-American females aged 15 to 19 years, compared with a pregnancy rate of 82.6 among whites (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1999). Additionally, on the basis of the findings of the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth, it was determined that African American females (48%) aged 15 to 17 were more likely than their white (34%) counterparts to have had sexual intercourse since menarche. On the basis of information provide by the National Center for Health Statistics (1997), African-American females aged 15 to 19 were more likely than their white peers to have had their first sexual experience (i.e., intercourse) without using effective contraception (24% versus 14%, respectively).
Did you know that 3 in 10 teen girls in the United States will get pregnant at least once before they turn 20 years old? (“Teen Pregnancy”). Or that most teenagers want to be pregnant before they are 20 years old. In 2009 approximately 410,00 teens aged 15-19 gave birth in the United States and the teen birth rate remains higher than other developing countries (“Pazol”). The most shocking news to many teens having kids is that childbearing cost the United States about 9 billion annually and that the national teen birth rate was 39.1 birth per 1,000 and 37% decrease from 61.8 per 1,000 lowest in all records (“Pazol”).
Teenage Pregnancy Teenage pregnancy has always been present in society. There is research stating that about half the women, born between 1900- 1910, who were interviewed were non-virginal at marriage (17 Ravoira). This contradicts some thoughts that premarital sexual behavior is something new. There was another study done in 1953, it found that one fifth of all first births to women were conceived before marriage (17 Ravoira). Even before our modern openness in discussing sexual behavior and acceptance that it does occur, it was quite routine.
Many teens who end up pregnant do not finish high school and are less likely even consider going to college. Another effect of teen pregnancy is that both mother and child become apt to health issues. Infants are more likely to suffer from low birth weight and other health problems. Most teens do not have health insurance therefore it becomes harder to provide adequate healthcare for themselves and their babies. Not only are children of teen parents more likely to be unhealthy physically but sometimes emotionally as well.
Teen pregnancy is a chief setback in the United States. There are drastically more teenage pregnancies in the United States than all other developed countries worldwide (Cloe & Moore, 1995). According to, The Complete and Authoritative Guide: Caring for Your Teenager, out of every five women under twenty, two will become pregnant. In 2010, the total number of pregnancies in the United States was 821,810 (84 pregnancies per 1,000 people). Weigh against Canada whose total rate of teen pregnancies for 2010 was 38,600 (38 pregnancies per 1,000 people).
In fact, 60% of teenage mothers come from economically disadvantaged households and perform poorly in school. Alex McKay, research coordinator for the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada, explains, "Young women who feel optimistic about their future tend not to get pregnant. Young women who are starting to feel discouraged about their employment are more likely to get pregnant." Moreover, 79% of teen pregnancies happen to unmarried teen couples. The male is usually older than the female in the relationship, and pressures the girl into having unprotected sex.