Study Finds Teen Pregnancies on the Rise
"U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity" and "Diploma Attainment Among Teen Mothers"
After declining or leveling off for 15 years, the pregnancy rate among U.S. teenagers rose again in 2006, a report published last week by the Guttmacher Institute says.
The New York City-based think tank, which specializes in reproductive issues, found that the pregnancy rate among 15- to 19-year-olds increased by 3 percent from 2005 to 2006, the most recent year for which national data are available. At the same time, abortion rates among girls in that age group increased by 1 percent, the study found.
After spiking in 1990, the teenage-pregnancy rate declined sharply throughout the rest of that decade and then hit a plateau in the early 2000s, the institute says. The researchers say the increase from 2005 to 2006 occurred among all demographic groups, including African-Americans, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic whites.
The researchers note that progress in curbing the pregnancy rate began to stall at the same time that sex education programs began to focus on teaching abstinence as the only means of birth control and that teenagers’ use of contraceptives began to decline.
A second report published last month by Child Trends, a Washington-based research group, gives one reason why the re-escalation is a concern. Based on an analysis of national survey data, it found that only half of young women who became mothers as teenagers went on to receive a high school diploma by age 22. In comparison, 89 percent of non-mothers had earned a diploma by that age.
Vol. 29, Issue 20, Page 4