In 2006, 750,000 women younger than 20 became pregnant. The pregnancy rate was 71.5 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19, and pregnancies occurred among about 7% of women in this age-group.
Ups and Downs
In 2005, the U.S. teenage pregnancy rate reached its lowest point in more than 30 years (69.5), down 41% since its peak in 1990 (116.9). However, in 2006, the rate increased for the first time in more than a decade, rising 3%.
The teenage birthrate in 2006 was 41.9 births per 1,000 women. This was 32% lower than the peak rate of 61.8, reached in 1991, but 4% higher than in 2005.
The 2006 teenage abortion rate was 19.3 abortions per 1,000 women. This figure was 56% lower than its peak in 1988, but 1% higher than the 2005 rate.
Between 1988 and 2000, teenage pregnancy rates declined in every state, and between 2000 and 2005, they fell in every state except North Dakota. (State data were not yet available for 2006.)
High and Lows
California reported the highest number of teenage pregnancies (96,490). The smallest numbers of teenage pregnancies were in Vermont, North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota and New Hampshire, all of which reported fewer than 1,600 pregnancies among women aged 15–19.
Statements & Quotations
In addition to the increases in teenage pregnancy, birth and abortion rates, the data presented here indicate that there are still large and long-standing disparities in rates by race and by state. These disparities echo those seen among unintended pregnancy rates, which are several times higher for women of color. Research underway at Guttmacher to calculate state-level unintended pregnancy rates will soon allow us to assess whether the state disparities seen among teenagers carry over to adult women.
Other research has noted and seeks to provide additional explanations for the longer-term trends and changes, including shifts in the racial and ethnic composition of the population, increases in poverty, the growth of abstinence-only sex education programs at the expense of comprehensive programs, and changes in public perception and attitudes toward both teenage and unintended pregnancy.
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