Teen Pregnancy: Reality Check

The "2002 Kids Count Book," published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, contains data on the decreasing teen birth rates across the USA. http://www.aecf.org/kidscount/auxiliary_2002/table1_5.htm. The U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rate declined by 36% from 1990-2002. The U.S. Teen Birth Rate declined by fully one-third from 1991-2004. [Other sources noted in the early new milennium that Teen birth rates dropped by 57% since the nineties] The birth rate among teenagers declined 2 percent in 2005, continuing a trend from the early 1990s. The rate is now about 40 births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19. That is the lowest level in the 65 years for which a consistent series of rates is available.    The U.S. teen birth rate is still the highest among industrialized countries.    The U.S. Teen Abortion Rate declined by 37% from 1990-2002. [Alan Guttmacher Institute, 10/06; National Center for Health Statistics, 11/06] Other Statistics: • More than 800,000 teenagers become pregnant each year(1) • 34% of girls become pregnant at least once before age 20(2) • 11% of pregnant 15–17-year-olds have already been pregnant at least once before(2) Twenty percent of teens are sexually active before the age of 15, and 14% of these teens with early sexual debut will become pregnant during their teen years.(2) The same behavior – sexual activity – that places young persons at risk for pregnancy also increases their risk for STIs, including HIV. Over the period 1991–2001, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that while the overall prevalence of sexual activity had not changed, the prevalence of alcohol or drug use before last sexual intercourse had increased. One-fourth of sexually...