During National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, celebrated each May, the nation turns its attention to teen pregnancy prevention and the great strides that have been made over the last 20 years. While there have been advances in reducing teen pregnancy, progress is still needed to close racial/ethnic and geographic disparities in teen birth rates in the United States. Although the teen birth rate is at a historic low, the United States has one of the highest rates in the industrialized world, with birth rates higher among American Indian/Alaska Natives and non-Hispanic blacks than among their non-Hispanic white counterparts.1
Why Prevention is Important
Teen pregnancy and childbearing bring substantial social and economic costs through immediate and long-term impacts on teen parents and their children. For example, teen childbearing in the United States cost taxpayers (federal, state, and local) at least $9.4 billion in 2010 due to increased health care and foster care, and lost tax revenue because of lower educational attainment and income among teen mothers.2 Additionally, pregnancy and birth are significant contributors to high school dropout rates among girls. Only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age, whereas approximately 90% of women who do not give birth during adolescence graduate from high school.
How to Get Involved
Teen pregnancy prevention is one of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) top seven priorities or “Winnable Battles” in public health. CDC encourages prevention partners, schools, and other youth serving organizations to amplify teen pregnancy prevention efforts through a variety of mediums and efforts.
- Clinicians and healthcare providers can learn more about the tools and resources for serving teens, as well as detailed sexually transmitted disease (STD) guidance and HIV prevention.
- For additional information and ideas, access the Office of Adolescent Heath (OAH) National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month Supporter Toolkit or the Administration for Children & Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau for more ways partners can get involved.
Community-level interventions that address the social conditions associated with high teen birth rates might further reduce racial/ethnic and geographic teen birth disparities in the United States. We encourage you to register for the NPIN Community and share your prevention activities, challenges, and best practices with partners across the country and in your service area.
1 CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/about/index.htm
2 The National Campaign. http://thenationalcampaign.org/why-it-matters/public-cost