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Teenage Pregnancy - Incidence Of Teenage Pregnancy

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 8Teenage Pregnancy - Incidence Of Teenage Pregnancy, Teenage Pregnancy And Later Outcomes, Public Policy And Teenage Pregnancy

Incidence of Teenage Pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy rates include those pregnancies that result in live births as well as those ending in induced abortions or other fetal losses. The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that in 1996 the pregnancy rate was 98.7 per 1,000 women aged fifteen through nineteen years, for a total of approximately 893,000 pregnancies. In that year, just over half (55%) of these pregnancies resulted in a live birth, with 30 percent ending in induced abortion, and 15 percent in fetal loss.

Pregnancy and birth rates among teenagers have varied considerably over time. Figure 1 depicts rates of birth among women aged fifteen through nineteen years from 1940 to 1999. Teen birth rates were at their highest from the late 1940s through the early 1960s, mirroring the elevated rates seen among all women of childbearing age during this time period, commonly referred to as the "baby boom." More recently, birth rates showed a relatively modest increase in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and declined steadily thereafter. Data for 1999 indicated that the teenage birth rate in that year fell to a record low of 49.6 births per 1,000.

Teen births tend to be concentrated in later adolescence, with two-thirds of the total births in 1999 occurring to women eighteen or nineteen years of age. Birth rates also vary among teens by race and ethnicity. Non-Hispanic white teenagers have historically had much lower birth rates than other groups. African-American teenagers ranked highest of any group until 1994, after which marked declines led their rates to track somewhat below those of Hispanic teens.

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