Teenage pregnancy is down in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This reduction could save taxpayers money, based on a new study.
The CDC reports pregnancies among American teenagers is down a dramatic 57 percent over the last 20 years, resulting in four million fewer births than would otherwise have been recorded. The most recent peak birth rate for teens was reached in 1991, and the number currently stands at 27 births for every 1,000 teenage girls. This number is down 10 percent since 2012, and 57 percent from its recent height 23 years ago.
"U.S. teen pregnancy and birth rates have declined dramatically over the past two decades and are now at historic lows. There has been significant progress in all 50 states and among all racial/ethnic groups. Even so, U.S. rates of teen childbearing remain far higher than in other comparable countries," The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reported on their website.
Taxpayers saved roughly $12 billion in 2010 due to decline of the teen birth rate, according to the group.
"We know, for instance, that only about 40 percent of teen mothers ever graduate from high school. Translate that number - 4 million fewer births - into a much, much lower high school graduation rate, and think about the prospects for those young women in this day and age and in this economy. It's pretty sobering," Bill Albert, chief program officer of the campaign, said.
Children born to teen mothers cost social programs, such as Medicaid and nutrition programs, $1,700 each year, according to the report. Teen pregnancy rates experienced a marked increase in between the years 1986 and 1991, as concern was mounting in government about the costs associated with the births. At its height, 61.8 out of every 1,000 teenage girls found herself carrying.
Teen pregnancy in the United States reached its all-time height in 1957, when the rate was three times higher than it is today. That year, 96.3 of every 1,000 teenage girls became pregnant. However, in some ways, things were easier for teenage girls 57 years ago than they are today. Today, most families need two incomes to make financial ends meet, and a high school diploma is not sufficient for most higher-paying jobs.
Albert and his team believe the drop may be due to a decrease in the number of young women having sex, as well as an increase in teen use of contraceptives. Reality shows about teenage girls could also be playing a part in reducing pregnancies, he stated.