Analytical Essay: Teen Pregnancy

For many years, particularly in the early 1990’s, teen pregnancy was at an all-time high in America, with 61.8 births for every 1,000 teenage girls. The last 20 years has seen a decline in teen pregnancy and today it is at its lowest. In 2009 adolescent pregnancy in America reached a new low for the modern era and declined by 44% between 1990 and 2009. The rate went from 116.8 births in every 1,000 teen females to 65.6. In 2012 there were just 29.4 births for every 100 adolescent teenagers aged 15-19.

Pregnancy occurring in teenagers under the age of 15 is also on the decrease. In 1990 it was recorded that there was 3.4 pregnancies per 1,000 young teenagers, this declined to 1.2 in 2009.

Teen pregnancy has negative implications for both the teen and for their child. In 2006 it was recorded that 82 percent of teenage pregnancies were unplanned. The teenagers wouldn’t necessarily be prepared financially or mentally to bring up a child of their own. Their financial situation may cause them to live off the state or rely on their own parents for help.
There is no doubt that some teens make wonderful mothers and are fully able to bring up a child. However, research found that the children of teenage mothers suffered with cognitive and behavioral outcomes than that of children born to older mothers.

Studies have shown that not all teen births are their first. In 2012 it was recorded that 17% of births to adolescents between 15 and 19, were to teens that already had one or more children.

There are a number of variations and trends when it comes to teen pregnancy. Teen birth rates differ by racial and ethnic group and religion, for example birth rates are highest with black and Hispanic teens. In 2012 it was recorded that Hispanic teens had the highest birth rate with 46.3 births per 1,000 teenage females. This was closely followed by black teens with 43.9 births for every 1,000 teens and then white teens with 20.5 births per every 1,000. Hispanics may have the highest teenage pregnancy rate; however the rate has decreased by 39% since 2007.

Today, teen pregnancy is no longer a taboo in many cultures through America. There are even shows which document the lives of teen moms and show the obstacles that they face. There are also a number of celebrities who have had children as young teenagers, making them role models for young mothers.

The new decline in teenage pregnancies could be for a number of reasons. One of these could be that today teens are provided with accurate, evidence-based and appropriate sexual education in schools. This gives teens the ability to use their knowledge and make informed decisions when it comes to avoiding pregnancy. Adolescents are also provided with the information as to where they can obtain contraception, free of charge. In 2012 basic contraception was made to be free, this may have been a key driving factor in the decline of teen pregnancy.

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