Us Teen Pregnancy Rate Climbs After Ten Year Decline

01.26.10 | FL News Team

The U.S. teen pregnancy rate is on the rise, reversing a decade-long trend. According to a report by the Guttmacher Institute, the overall teen pregnancy rate was up three percent in 2006, with a four-percent rise in the rate of births and a one-percent increase in the rate of abortions. The U.S. has higher rates of teen pregnancy, birth and abortion than other Western industrialized nations. There were 71 pregnancies per one-thousand U.S. girls age 15 to 19.

 The report notes fewer black teenage girls became pregnant, closing a gap with Hispanic teens. But rates among both groups were still significantly higher than for white teens, and rates went up for all ethnic groups. Researchers said they were not sure whether that is just a blip or the beginning of a longer upward trend. However, they noted the change coincides with substantial increases in funding for abstinence-only programs.

 The report credits improved contraceptive use for much of the big decline in teen pregnancies during the 1990s. The Obama administration's 2010 budget eliminated spending for abstinence-only, shifting funds to pregnancy prevention education that includes abstinence along with medically accurate and age-appropriate information. New Mexico led the nation with the highest teen pregnancy rate at nine percent, followed by Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Mississippi. New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota had the lowest rates of teen pregnancies.