Publication Date:

Aug 13, 2018

Key facts about teen pregnancy

  • In 2013, the U.S. teenage pregnancy rate reached its lowest level (43 per 1,000 females, ages 15–19) since 1990 (118 per 1,000).
  • Rates of teenage pregnancy have declined across all racial/ethnic groups since the 1990s, although the rates for black and Hispanic teens are still more than twice the rate for non-Hispanic white teens.
  • Older teens (ages 18–19) have much higher rates of pregnancy than younger teens.

Trends in teenage pregnancy

In 2013, the teen pregnancy rate reached a new low. It declined by 63 percent from 1990 to 2013, from 118 to 43 pregnancies per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19—the lowest rate reported since estimates began in 1972. Among females younger than 15, there was a 78 percent decline from 1990 to 2013 (from 3.4 to 0.7 pregnancies per 1,000 females). Over the same period, rates for teens ages 15 to 17 declined by 72 percent, from 75 to 21 pregnancies per 1,000 females; the rates for teens ages 18 to 19 declined by 56 percent, from 173 to 76.

The pregnancy rate among teens who are sexually experienced (those who have ever had intercourse) has also decreased similarly. In 1990, there were 225 pregnancies per 1,000 sexually experienced female teens; by 2011, that rate had fallen 55 percent, to 101 pregnancies. (Appendix)

Differences by race and Hispanic origin*

Although the pregnancy rate for non-Hispanic white females ages 15 to 19 is lower than for black and Hispanic females (30 per 1,000, compared with 76 and 61 per 1,000 Hispanic and black females, respectively), rates for each of these groups have declined in recent decades. For both non-Hispanic white and black teens, rates declined steadily from 1990 to 2013, although they increased from 2005 to 2006. Pregnancy rates for Hispanic teens did not begin to decline until 1992, although declines for this group have been greater than for other racial/ethnic groups in the past five years. The race/ethnicity gap has narrowed more for younger teens than it has for older adolescents, although recent data by race/ethnicity are not available for teens of age groups other than ages 15 to 19 (Appendix).

*Hispanic youth may be of any race. Estimates for white youth in this report do not include Hispanic youth of that race

Differences by age

Older teens have much higher pregnancy rates than younger teens. In 2013, females ages 18 to 19 had a pregnancy rate of 76 per 1,000 population, compared with a rate of 21 among females ages 15 to 17, and 0.7 among females under age 15 (Appendix).*

*Rates of pregnancies for teens under age 15 are computed by dividing the number of pregnancies for women under age 15 by the total number of females ages 10 to 14.

Other estimates

State and local estimates

State estimates are available from the following source:

Kost, K., Maddow-Zimet, I., & Arpaia, A. (2017). Pregnancies, births, and abortions among adolescents and young women in the United States, 2013: National and state trends by age, race and ethnicity. Washington, DC: Guttmacher Institute. Retrieved from https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/us-adolescent-pregnancy-trends-2013.pdf.

International estimates

International estimates for select countries are available from the following source:
Sedgh, G., Finer, L. B., Bankole, A., Eilers, M. A., & Singh, S. (2015). Adolescent pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates across countries: Levels and recent trends. Journal of Adolescent Health, 56(2), 223–230.

Data and appendices

Data sources

  • Race/ethnicity data for 2009, except for 15- to 19-year-olds: Curtin, S. C., Abma, J. C., Ventura, S. J., & Henshaw, S. K. (2013). Pregnancy rates for U.S. women continue to drop (NCHS Data Brief No. 136). Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db136.pdf.
  • Race/ethnicity data for 1990–2008, except for 15- to 19-year-olds: Ventura, S. J., Curtin, S.C. Abma, J. C., & Henshaw, S. K. (2012). Estimated pregnancy rates and rates of pregnancy outcomes for the United States, 1990–2008. National Vital Statistics Reports, 60(7).
  • Data for 1972: Kost, K. & Henshaw, S. (2014). S. teenage pregnancies, births and abortions, 2010: National and state trends and trends by age, race and ethnicity. Washington, DC: Guttmacher Institute. Retrieved from http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrends10.pdf.
  • All other pregnancy data: Child Trends’ calculations from data in Kost, K., Maddow-Zimet, I., & Arpaia, A. (2017). Pregnancies, births, and abortions among adolescents and young women in the United States, 2013: National and state trends by age, race and ethnicity. Washington, DC: Guttmacher Institute. Retrieved from https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/us-adolescent-pregnancy-trends-2013.pdf.
  • Population data for teens ages 10 to 14: U.S. Census Bureau. (2016). Age and sex composition in the United States: 2013 [Data tables]. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2013/demo/age-and-sex/2013-age-sex-composition.html.

Raw data source

Kost, K., Maddow-Zimet, I., & Arpaia, A. (2017). Pregnancies, births, and abortions among adolescents and young women in the United States, 2013: National and state trends by age, race and ethnicity. Washington, DC: Guttmacher Institute. Retrieved from https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/us-adolescent-pregnancy-trends-2013.pdf.

Background

Definition

Pregnancies are computed by adding the number of live births, estimated fetal losses, and abortions. The number of births is obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics’ records of all birth certificates filed in the United States. Fetal losses are computed using estimates from the National Survey of Family Growth. The annual number of abortions is calculated from the Guttmacher Institute’s survey of all known abortion providers. Pregnancy rates are the number of pregnancies per 1,000 women in a specified age group. For more details, see https://www.guttmacher.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/us-adolescent-pregnancy-trends-2013.pdf.

Suggested Citation:

Child Trends Databank. (2018). Teen Pregnancy. Available at: https://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=teen-pregnancy