Teenage pregnancy is a serious health problem. Not only does it cause complications for the adolescent mother, but the infant also faces an increased risk of premature birth, low birth weight, puerperal endometritis, and other systemic infections. It can disrupt a young woman’s education, family life, and career.
Although teen pregnancy rates have declined in the United States in the past decade, there are still substantial disparities between states. This may reflect less sex, poor contraceptive use, and economic factors. But more information is needed to understand what is causing the decline.
Researchers at the Guttmacher Institute examined data from two large-scale government surveys to find out why teen pregnancy has declined in the U.S. They found that the decline is driven by improvements in the contraceptive use of teenagers.
Despite the decline in teen pregnancy rates, there are still many racial, ethnic, and economic groups with significantly higher rates. African-Americans remain twice as likely to become pregnant as non-Hispanic whites. In fact, the rates for blacks are higher than those for Asian-Americans and Hispanics.
Teenage pregnancy rates have declined, but there is still a lot of work to be done to reduce them. To do so, communities need to identify and implement proven programs. There are also a number of federal programs that aim to lower teen pregnancy rates.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ searchable database can help you locate programs that receive HHS funding. These programs include behavioral risk reduction programs, prevention programs, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) programs.