The ratio of teen pregnancy in the U.S is one of the highest one than other western industrialized country. Although the rate has been declined over two decades, but U.S is still considered as the higher one. It then becomes one of the national concerns of U.S government. Let’s check how the trends happened!
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Current Trend of Teenage Pregnancy
In the last census of teen pregnancy in 2013, the data showed that there are 26.5 births for every 1,000 female teenagers ages 15-19. If it is counted as a number, there are about 273,105 babies born to females in this age group. The ratio has been continuously declined over the past of 20 years. In 1991, U.S has the highest birth rate about 61.8 from 1.000 of 15-19 age females. Still, U.S has positioned as the highest teen pregnancy rates from other developed countries such as United Kingdom and Canada.
The teen pregnancy ratio also differs by age, racial and ethnic, and also region. In the 2013 data, most teenagers about 73% give birth in the age of 18-19. By the race and ethnicity, the highest ratio is Hispanic teenagers with 41.7 per 1,000 teen females ages 15-19. While the black race has 39 and white race 18.6 per 1,000 teen females ages 15-19. Although Hispanic has the highest ratio, but they also has a significant declined compared with black and white race. They have declined by 45% since 2007, while black declined 37% and white is 35%.
There are also differences teen pregnancy ratios across the region of U.S. The highest record held by Arkansas region with 43.5 per 1,000 adolescent females ages 15-19, followed by 43.3 of New Mexico, 42.9 of Oklahoma, 42.6 of Mississippi , 41 of Texas, and 40.1 of West Virginia. The lowest teen birth rate is in the Northeast region of Massachusetts with 12.1 per 1,000 adolescent females ages 15-19.
Why the Ratio is So High?
In the journal by Melissa S. Kearney and Phillip B. Levine in 2012, they studied about why is the teen birth rate in the United States so high and why does it matter. In the paper, they revealed that one of the reasons is income inequality across U.S states. The low income condition leads many adolescent girls to give birth and unmarried in a young age. It is also the cause of poor outcomes and future difficulties in their life compared with teen girls who don’t have children. They tend to think that they have low chance of economic and work advancement. They end up neglecting their economy progress and choose to become a mother in a young age.
Another reason is the teenager sexual activity and contraceptive use. The active sexual activity and less contraceptive use will lead to high birth rates. There also social problem which no expanding contraception access and abstinence education which can solve this problem. Using Youth Risky Behavior Surveillance survey, they estimated the teen birth rates 16 points higher per 1,000 for the higher sexual activity and 18 points higher for lower rates of contraceptive use. The total is 34 points per 1,000.
U.S Government Prevention Program
The 2013 data also showed that 17% of births from 15-19 years old teen girls not their first births. In order to avoid the repeat teen birth, Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) of U.S Department of Health and Human Services offers Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF). The funds will be used to help pregnant and parent teens to complete their schools or earn postsecondary degrees. The funds also use to help them gain access of health care, family housing, child care, and other supports. The OAH also provide Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPP) which include Replication of Evidence-Based Program and Research and Demonstration Projects.
Social program like sex education, abstinence counseling, and improved access to contraception might help to reduce the birth rates. The improved economic opportunities also will become a significant factor which makes teen girls delay childbearing to pursue their bright future. Along with their economic progress, the high rates teenager pregnancy will be declined faster.
The Trends Of Teenage Pregnancy In The U.S
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