Indicator List for Teen Pregnancy/Reproductive Health

Young pregnant woman

Child Trends examines sexual activity, fertility, and contraceptive use and decision-making, focusing particularly on teens and young adults. Our research informs program providers and policymakers on  strategies to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, and to promote healthy relationships. We collect and analyze data about teens and young adults, track trends, evaluate programs, and design and test new interventions and measures.

Indicator List for Teen Pregnancy/Reproductive Health

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Birth Control Pill Use

Among sexually active high school students, whites are far more likely than black or Hispanic students to report using birth control pills (24 versus 10 and 11 percent, respectively), as of 2011. 

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Condom Use

Six in ten high school students who are sexually active reported they used condoms at their most recent sexual intercourse.   Condom use among this group increased from 46 percent in 1991 to 63 percent in 2003, and was 60 percent in 2011.

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Oral Sex Behaviors among Teens

About half of teens ages 15 to 19 report having ever engaged in oral sex with an opposite-sex partner. Among teens who have never had sexual intercourse, about one in seven girls, and one in six boys, report having ever engaged in oral sex with an opposite sex partner.

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Sexually Active Teens

About one-third of high school students report they are sexually active.  This overall percentage has not changed greatly since 1991.   An exception is a significant decrease among black students, where the proportion who are sexually active declined from 59 percent in 1991 to 41 percent in 2011.

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Sexually Experienced Teens

Nearly half of high school students report they have ever had sexual intercourse.  This proportion declined between 1991 and 2001, from 54 to 46 percent; since that time it has fluctuated slightly, and was at 47 percent in 2011.

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Teen Abortions

The abortion rate among teens ages 15 to 19 declined by 64 percent between 1990 and 2010. Among both older and younger teens, abortion rates have been declining since the late 1980s.