Teen births

Teen Births are the number of births per 1,000 female population, ages 15-19.

Measure Tabs

Reason for Ranking

Evidence suggests teen pregnancy significantly increases the risk of repeat pregnancy and of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), both of which can result in adverse health outcomes for mothers, children, families, and communities. A systematic review of the sexual risk among pregnant and mothering teens concludes that pregnancy is a marker for current and future sexual risk behavior and adverse outcomes [1]. 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 [2, 3]. Pre-term delivery and low birthweight babies have increased risk of child developmental delay, illness, and mortality [4]. 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 [5-7].

Measurement Strengths and Limitations

Teen birth rates are associated with unsafe sexual activity. Teen birth data are readily available and reliable for nearly all counties. The primary limitation of this measure is that it does not capture births among teens younger than 15. Though the incidence of teen births in this cohort is particularly low, births at such a young age are more likely to result in adverse health and socioeconomic outcomes. Teen births and teen pregnancy are distinct but related measures. Although all births are the culmination of a pregnancy, not all pregnancies culminate in a birth.