Young pregnant woman

Teen Pregnancy/Reproductive Health

Child Trends examines sexual activity, contraceptive use, and fertility, 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.

Featured Publications

New Evidence on the Relationship Between Academic Ability and Nonmarital Teen Childbearing

Jul 2015 | Adam Thomas; Cary Lou

Previous studies have found that girls who perform well in school are less likely to become teen mothers. In this brief exploring the relationship between academic ability and the likelihood of experiencing a non-marital teen birth, we show that this is true for girls with few behavioral problems, but not for others, and only for certain measures of academic ability.

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What Works for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations of Programs and Interventions

Dec 2014 | Heather Fish; Jennifer Manlove; Kristin Anderson Moore; Elizabeth Mass

The United States continues to have one of the highest teen birth rates in the developed world,1 and adolescent rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are also high.2 These factors highlight the need to identify effective evidence-based programs to improve adolescent reproductive health. This brief synthesizes findings from 118 experimental evaluations of 100 program models. These were evaluations measuring reproductive health of youth and adolescents to determine how frequently these programs work to improve behavioral sexual outcomes such as sexual initiation and activity, number of sexual partners, anal/oral sex, sex under the influence of drugs/alcohol, condom and contraceptive use, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pregnancies or births. These programs used a range of program approaches and served a variety of populations in many different settings.

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Location Matters: Geographic Variation in Teen Childbearing within Washington, D.C.

Nov 2014 | Jennifer Manlove; Elizabeth Cook; Mae Cooper; August Aldebot-Green; Kate Welti

Teen childbearing remains a reality for hundreds of thousands of teenage girls in the United States, despite recent declines in the overall teen birth rate. Nationwide, there are also disparities in the rate of teen births. Hispanic, black, and Native American/Alaska Native teen girls, for example, are far more likely to give birth than are white or Asian/Pacific Islander teens. For this brief, we set off to determine how birth rates vary within a city, specifically the nation’s capital, and to analyze how addressing the issue of teen pregnancy among the populations most at-risk could reduce teen childbearing for the city overall.

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Male Involvement in Family Planning: The Estimated Impact of Improvements in Condom Use and Efficacy on Nonmarital Births among Teens and Young Adults

Sep 2014 | Jennifer Manlove; Elizabeth Cook; Quentin Karpilow; Adam Smith; Heather Fish

This research uses FamilyScape 2.0, a microsimulation model of family formation, to estimate the effects of increasing the prevalence and effectiveness of condom use among sexually active men on the incidence of nonmarital pregnancy, abortion and childbearing, as well as on rates of child poverty. These models are informed by analyses of the 2006‐2010 National Survey of Family Growth (to provide a descriptive reproductive portrait of young men and estimates of condom use failure rates) and a review of evidence‐based pregnancy prevention programs that found impacts on condom use.

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