A new CDC report documents substantial declines in teen births in the United States over the past four years, with especially dramatic declines among Hispanic teens. Despite these declines, Hispanic women are still most likely to have a teen birth.
An estimated 24 percent of young Hispanic women will have a birth before they reach age 20, compared with only 10 percent of white women.1
Currently, one in five U.S. adolescents is Hispanic, and that proportion is projected to grow to one in three in 2050, highlighting the importance of continuing to target teen pregnancy prevention efforts to this population. Additionally, published teen birth rates mask important diversity within the Hispanic population, particularly between the roughly 90 percent of Hispanic adolescents who are born in the U.S. (native-born Hispanics) and the 10 percent who are not (foreign-born Hispanics).
This diversity is highlighted in a new research article, published in the June issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. In this article, Child Trends analyzed recent national longitudinal data from young women ages 12-16 who were followed into young adulthood. Our research found that foreign-born Hispanic adolescent girls had more than three times the risk of a teen birth than white girls, while native-born Hispanics had about twice the risk. While many factors helped account for these differences in teen births, our research highlights the very different family and relationship contexts of Hispanic girls, depending on where they are born. For example:
These findings highlight the need to tailor teen pregnancy prevention efforts to meet the diversity of experiences within the Hispanic community. As a first step in this direction, Child Trends is reviewing teen pregnancy prevention programs that target or include Hispanics (pulled from our What Works database of random-assignment program evaluations):
These findings suggest the need to extend the existing evidence base on effective programs to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy across diverse population of Hispanics.
Jennifer Manlove, Ph.D., Co-Director, Reproductive Health & Family Formation
Amanda Berger, Ph.D., Research Scientist
Lizy Wildsmith, Ph.D., Sr. Research Scientist
1 Welti, K. (2012). Child Trends’ analysis of National Vital Statistics System birth data. Washington, DC: Child Trends.