The rate of teen childbearing in the U.S. is considerably higher than in any other developed country (29.4 births for every 1,000 females age 15-19, compared to 5-10 births per 1,000).
Teen pregnancy prevention is a national priority. Despite declines in teen pregnancy and birth rates in the U.S., the national teen pregnancy rate continues to be higher than the rates in other Western industrialized nations.1 Racial and ethnic disparities remain, with higher rates of teen pregnancy for Hispanic and non-Hispanic black adolescents than non-Hispanic white adolescents.2 Teen pregnancy prevention is a major public health issue because it directly affects the immediate and long-term well-being of mother, father, and child. Teen pregnancy and childbirth contribute significantly to dropout rates among high school females, increased health and foster care costs, and a wide range of developmental problems for children born to teen mothers. 3
Addressing teen pregnancy prevention requires broad efforts that involve families, service providers, schools, faith- and community-based organizations, recreation centers, policymakers, and youth. The development and implementation of evidence-based prevention efforts require an understanding of the problem including knowledge of target populations, trends in the rates of teen pregnancy and birth, and the risk and protective factors associated with teen pregnancy. This information can be used to inform decisions—such as choosing which risk and protective factors to focus on—in order to help better guide the effective implementation of evidence-based practices to prevent teen pregnancies. Currently there are a number of initiatives being implemented through the support of the federal government and other organizations to better address the issue of teen pregnancy.
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2011; Kost & Henshaw, 2012
2 Kost & Henshaw, 2012
3 CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health, 2011
Youth Leadership Program For Communitywide Teen Pregnancy Prevention in Texas
When she’s not busy with one of her favorite hobbies—photography, or serving in her role as senior class president at McCollum High School in San Antonio, Texas—17-year-old Gabby Herrera is heading to various events in the community to address teen pregnancy prevention.
Promising Strategies and Existing Gaps in Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Teens
The Pregnancy Assistance Fund (PAF), administered by the U.S. Department of health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health (OAH), provides competitive grants to state and tribal organizations that support pregnant and parenting teens and their families. PAF funds are also used to improve services for pregnant women who are victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Program
For the first time since the early 1990s, the overall rates of pregnancy and birth among teenagers and young women increased from 2005 to 2006 and continued to increase in 2007.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention & Social Media Web Page
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has developed social media tools and messages available support teen pregnancy prevention efforts. CDC's new Teen Pregnancy and Social Media web page is available at:
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