Teen Pregnancies Rates Offer No Answers to its Causes

Although teen pregnancy rates have been falling since 1991, girls who have not graduated high school remain susceptible to pregnancy. Statistics for unmarried teen pregnancies in the U.S. show rates as being higher than any other developed nation.


The Unmarried Teen birth rate showed a decrease over a five-year period, from 1991-1996. In 1991, statistics showed a 12% drop in birth rates among teen girls (62 births for every 1,000 pregnancies), to 54 births for the same number of pregnancies in 1996. Similar rates of decrease occurred in all other ethnic groups.

By 1996, the teen birth rate statistics showed 63 births for every 1000 girls, among 15-19 year olds. Decreases in teen birth rates across all ethnicities showed Latino teen girls as most susceptible to pregnancy, with just a 15% decrease from 1991-1996. Among African-American and Caucasian groups, decreases of 23% and 24%, respectively, in birth rates, reflected a significant deviation from the Latino group.

What constitutes this gap between African-American and Caucasian groups that is significantly lower than the Latino group? The economic plight of immigrants from Mexico, their lack of education opportunities, and social isolation from the dominant culture, may be conditions that raise teen pregnancy rates among Latinos.

In the U.S., teen pregnancies, not as stigmatized as they once were, still cause concern as they over-burden an already-stressed healthcare system. In underdeveloped nations this is not so. Their cultures expect girls to marry and bear children while still in their teens

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