Teen pregnancy is a major social and public health problem in the United States. U.S. teens have the highest pregnancy rate in the industrial world and 82 percent of those pregnancies are unplanned. The teen pregnancy rate has declined by one-third over the past decade, largely because of increased contraceptive use. Broad-based public policy efforts are under way to tackle the cultural issues that surround teen and unplanned pregnancies.
Teenagers in the United States become pregnant usually unplanned at twice the rate of teens in other industrial countries, including England, Canada and Wales. The Guttmacher Institute reports that 750,000 teens ages 15 to 19 become pregnant each year, which is a rate of 75 pregnancies per 1,000 women in this age group. Of all the births in the United States, 11 percent are to teenagers. While teen pregnancies have been decreasing for several years, births to unmarried, unprepared young women can create long-lasting social and developmental problems for parents and babies.
Young women ages 18 and 19 account for two-thirds of all teen pregnancies. The Guttmacher Institute reports significant differences in race and ethnicity trends in teen pregnancy: Black women have the highest pregnancy rate among teens 15 to 19 years old, with 134 pregnancies per 1,000 women; the Hispanic teen pregnancy rate is 131 per 1,000; and the pregnancy rate for white teens is 48 per 1,000. Twenty-nine percent of teen pregnancies end in abortion, 14 percent end in miscarriage and 57 percent result in birth.
Teen pregnancies are tied to... [continues]
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