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Why Care?

teen girl

The state of Oregon has made tremendous strides in its decrease in the state’s teen pregnancy rates. In 2003, the state recorded 26.4 pregnancies per 1,000 females ages 15-17. The teen pregnancy rate fell well below the 2000 benchmark goal of pregnancies per 1,000 set by the Oregon Progress Board.

The work of local communities and the involvement of youth in teen pregnancy prevention and positive youth development efforts have been key. Youth and adults are engaging in issues that directly effect them and the communities they live in. Let’s keep the good work going. This is not the time to become complacent.

Here are some interesting facts:

  • In 2003, 1,965 girls ages 15-17, became pregnant in Oregon.
  • There are social and economic consequences (PDF document, 36 pages) to children having children. Here are just a few:
    • Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school and more likely to end up on welfare.
    • The children of teen mothers have lower birth weights, are more likely to perform poorly in school and are a greater risk of abuse and neglect.
    • The daughters of teen mothers are 22 percent more likely to become teen mothers themselves.
    • The U.S. leads all industrialized countries in teen pregnancy, birth and abortion rates.
    • Teen pregnancy costs society billions of dollars a year nationally. It is estimated that 7 billion dollars is spent each year in direct costs associated with health care, foster care, criminal justice and public assistance as well as lost revenues.
    • Four in ten girls become pregnant at least once before age 20 -- over 900,000 teen pregnancies annually.
    • There are nearly half a million teen births each year. Put another way, each hour nearly 100 teen girls get pregnant and 55 give birth.
    • About 40 percent of pregnant teens are 17 or younger.
    • Nearly eight in ten pregnancies among teens are not planned or intended.
    • Some teens are having sex earlier. One major data set indicates that the only group of teen girls showing an increase in sexual activity is those under age 15. And, a 1999 study indicated that 8.3 percent of students report having sex before age 13 -- a disturbing 15 percent increase since 1997.
    • Many of the fathers of children born to teen mothers are older; almost half of young men who impregnate a minor teen (under 18) are three or more years older.
    • Between 1995 and 2010, the number of girls aged 15-19 will increase by 2.2 million. If current fertility rates remain the same, we will see a 26 percent increase in the number of pregnancies and births among teenagers.