Health Behaviors and Social Determinants of Health

Teen birth rate per 1,000 female population, ages 15-19

16.32018

Line Bar Comparison
Story Behind the Curve

Pregnant teens are more likely than older women to receive late or no prenatal care, have eclampsia, puerperal endometritis, systemic infections, low birthweight, preterm delivery, and severe neonatal conditions. Pre-term delivery and low birthweight babies have increased risk of child developmental delay, illness, and mortality. Additionally, there are strong ties between teen birth and poor socioeconomic, behavioral, and mental outcomes. Teenage women who bear a child are much less likely to achieve an education level at or beyond high school, much more likely to be overweight/obese in adulthood, and more likely to experience depression and psychological distress. (County Health Rankings)

Teen birth rates have been dropping accross the US. Although reasons for the declines are not totally clear, evidence suggests these declines are due to more teens abstaining from sexual activity, and more teens who are sexually active using birth control than in previous years. Still, the U.S. teen pregnancy rate is substantially higher than in other western industrialized nations, and racial/ethnic and geographic disparities in teen birth rates persist.

What Works

Parents, guardians, and caregivers can

  • Talk with teens about sex, including:
  • Normal sexual development, and how and when to say “no” to sex.
  • Having a mutually respectful and honest relationship.
  • Using birth control if they have sex and a condom every time.
  • Know where their teens are and what they are doing, particularly after school.
  • Be aware of their teen’s use of social media and digital technology (e.g., cell phones, computers, tablets).
Strategy
Scorecard Result Container Indicator Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy