Teen Birth Rate Goes Up

01.07.09 | FL News Team

Births to teenage girls rose in the U.S. in 2006 after fifteen years of declines. A report out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says some four hundred thirty-five thousand infants were born to mothers ages fifteen to nineteen years old. That is a rate of forty-two births per thousand girls, with more than eighty percent unintended. The CDC says it's too early to tell whether the increase is a stastical fluke or a grim new trend. 

The U.S. still leads industrialized nations in births to teenagers. As a result, the CDC says roughly one in three American girls will get pregnant before her twentieth birthday. Texas, New Mexico and Mississippi reported the highest rate of teen births. New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts reported the lowest rates. 

Hispanic girls gave birth at twice the overall rate, while teens from Asian and Pacific Islander families had half the national rate. The CDC says demographic data and social science research must be part of any effort to identify and protect the populations most at risk of teen pregnancy

The report says that compared to women who delay childbearing until after age twenty, teens are more likely to have children in poor health. Their children also report more hospitalizations, more abuse and neglect, and more problems in school or with the law.  Teen childbearing also costs U.S. taxpayers nine billion dollars a year.