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). Consequently, on the basis of such risky behavior, African American teenagers are at greater risk than their white peers for experiencing a pregnancy. pregnant, especially if it was with the baby's father. A concluded by Harris, most of the mothers believed that sexual intercourse was a behavior they were going to continue to engage in, regardless of threat of disease or pregnancy. As compared to the adolescent fathers participating in the study, Harris reported that most of the fathers indicated that they were now engaging in protected sex.
As many have suggested, while engagement in unprotected sexual intercourse at an early age places adolescents at risk for pregnancy, there are a number of other factors that influence African American teen pregnancy rates. According to Dervarics (2004), African American teen mothers and fathers are often represented among the rising number of minority "disconnected" youth in the US. This group is comprised of teens ages 16 to 19 who are both out of school and out of work. Dervarics reported that nearly
A quarter of African Americans ages 18 to 19 falls into the disconnected category. As a consequence of being disconnected, as explained by the author, African Amer...
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...with poverty. It is these issues that attention must be directed towards in order to reduce teen pregnancy rates.
Alan Guttmacher Institute. (1994). Sex and America's teenagers. NY: The Alan Guttmacher Institute.
Alan Guttmacher Institute. (1999). Teenage pregnancy: Overall trends and state-by-state information. NY: The Alan Guttmacher Institute.
Dervarics, C. (2005). Minorities overrepresented among America's 'disconnected' youth. Population Reference Bureau. Found online at: http://www.prb.org/Template.cfm?Section=PRB&template=/ContentManagement /ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=11335
Lardner, J. (2005). Arline Geronimus on teen parenthood. Inequality.Org. Found online at: http://www.inequality.org/teenparenthood.html
National Center for Health Statistics. (1997). Fertility, family planning, and women's health: New data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.