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Teen births

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

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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 gestational hypertension and anemia, and achieve poor maternal weight gain.[2] Teens are also more likely than older women to have a pre-term delivery and low birthweight baby, increasing the risk of child developmental delay, illness, and mortality.[3]

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.

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