Adolescent Pregnancy And Childbearing In America

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Adolescent Pregnancy and Childbearing in America

Adolescent Pregnancy and Childbearing in America

Since 1990 the teen pregnancy rate (the number of pregnancies per 1,000 teenage women) decreased to 101 in 1995, the lowest level since 1975. Still, each year nearly one million American teenage women become pregnant. Four out of ten American teenage women become pregnant before the age of 20. The teen pregnancy rate for women under 20 increased significantly since the early 1970s, reaching a high of 118 in 1990. At the same time, the outcome of teenage pregnancies has changed. Sixty-three percent of pregnant teenagers gave birth and 22 percent had abortions in 1995 compared to 1983 data which shows that 47 percent of teenagers gave birth and 43 percent had abortions. Fewer than 10 percent of teenagers who delivered babies chose adoption in 1995. By 1997, more than 500,000 births occurred to women under the age of 20. Between 1995 and 2010, the number of girls aged 15-19 will increase by 2.2 million. If current fertility rates remain the same, we will see a 26 percent increase in the number of pregnancies and births among teenagers. The teen birth rate (the number of births per 1,000 teenage women) declined significantly between 1960 and 1986, but large increases in the latter half of the 1980s resulted in birth rates that were higher than the previous decade (Johnson 1995). The teen birth rate has since declined to 53 live births per 1,000 teenage women nationally in 1997, including declines in every state. The teen birth rates varied by geographical region, with the highest rates centered in the southern and southwestern United States. The majority of teen births occur to teens aged 18-19. In 1995, the birth rate for girls aged 15 to 17 was less than 50 percent of the birth rate for aged 18-19, regardless of race. In 1996, 22 percent of teen births, mostly in the 18-19 age group, were to girls who had already given birth at least once before. Studies show that the teens who may be least able to financially support a child, are more likely to become teen parents. While teen pregnancy crosscuts all income levels, 85 percent of teens who give birth are poor or near-poor. Teen mothers have more children, on average, than women who delay childbearing, which makes it more difficult for them and their children to escape a life of poverty (Calhoun 1995). In addition to poverty, other indicators which consistently predict teen childbearing are family dysfunction, early behavior problems and poor performance in school. According to a 1995 survey, 30 percent of births to women between the ages of 15 and 49 are unintended. The percentage of unintended births to women between the ages of 15 and 19 is drastically higher at 65 percent.

Sexual Activity

According to a 1995 survey, 63 percent of American women 20-24 had sex for the first time before the age of 18 and 81 percent had sex before ...
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