The United States has the highest teen birth rate among Western industrialized countries.Each year in the U.S., approximately 750,000 to 850,000 teenage women, ages 15 through 19, become pregnant[i]. Only about 450,000 of those babies are born, however.
Without access to adequate services, teen mothers may not receive prenatal care, placing the baby at increased risks of premature birth and low birth weight and resultant health risks.
Almost half (48%) of all non-marital first births are to teen parents[ii].Half of unwed teen mothers go on welfare within a year of the child’s birth. Within five years, 77% are still on welfare[iii].Only 40% of mothers who have children before the age of 18 ever complete high school. 80% of those who quit school end up on welfare.
Sons of teenage mothers are more likely to do a stint in prison, and daughters are more likely to become teenage mothers themselves[iv].
Though children of teen parents have more health problems than children born to older parents, they receive only half the level of care and treatment[v].
Children born to teen mothers are more likely to be abused, abandoned or neglected[vi].
Teen girls in foster care are two and a half times more likely to experience a pregnancy by age 19[vii].
Children born to teen parents are more likely than those born to older parents to end up in foster care or have multiple caretakers throughout their childhood[viii].
According to the TACIR report, Bradley County ranked 40th in Tennessee regarding the number of births to women ages 10-17; Hamilton County ranked 28th; Polk County, 70th. [ix]
[i] The Guttmacher Institute. (2006) U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity. New York: The Guttmacher Institute.
[ii] The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, “Why it Matters: Teen Pregnancy, Out-of-Wedlock Births, Healthy Relationships and Marriage.” 2006.
[iii] Michael Tanner, CATO Congressional Testimony, March 9, 1995
[v] Maynard, R.A., (Ed.). (1996). Kids Having Kids: A Robin Hood Foundation Special Report on the Costs of Adolescent Childbearing, New York: Robin Hood Foundation
[vi] George, R.M., & Lee, B.J. (1997). Abuse and Neglect of Children. R.A. Maynard (Ed.), Kids Having Kids: Economic Costs and Social Consequences of Teen Pregnancy (pp. 205-230). Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.
[vii] Bilaver, L.A & Courtney, M.E. (2006). Science Says #27: Foster Care Youth. National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy: Washington, DC.
[viii] Stier, D.M., Levelthal, J.M, Berg, A.T., Johnson, L. & Mezger, J. Are Children Born to Younger Mothers at Increased risk of Maltreatment? Pediatrics, 1993. 91(3): p 642-648