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By The Numbers: The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing

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Presentation on theme: "By The Numbers: The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing"— Presentation transcript:

1 By The Numbers: The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing

2 This Presentation Will Cover:
Why Care? The Costs of Teen Childbearing

3 Why Care?

4 We’ve Made Progress National Teen Pregnancy Rates, 1972-2002
(number of pregnancies per 1,000 girls aged 15-19) After increasing 23 percent between 1972 and 1990 (including 10 percent between 1987 and 1990), the teen pregnancy rate for girls (15-19) decreased 36 percent between 1990 and 2002 to a record low. There is much to celebrate – in terms of reducing teen pregnancy and birth rates, in all states and among all ethnic and racial groups. The Wall Street Journal recently called the reduction in teen pregnancy “a rare public health victory.” The Alan Guttmacher Institute. (2006). U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity. New York, NY: The Alan Guttmacher Institute.

5 More to Feel Good About National Teen Birth Rates, 1940-2005
(number of births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19) From 1940 to 1957, the teen birth rate increased 78% to a record high. The birth rate dropped fairly steadily from the end of the 1950s through the mid-1980s, but then increased 23% between 1986 and Between 1991 and 2005*, the teen birth rate decreased 35% to a record low of 40.4 in *Data for 2005 are preliminary. Birth rate is at an all time low at 40.4/ Overall, the teen birth rate decreased 35% between 1991 and 2005. Ventura, S.J., Mathews, T.J, & Hamilton, B.E. (2001). Births to Teenagers in the United States: National Vital Statistics Reports, 49(10).; Hamilton, B.E., Martin, J.A., & Ventura, S.J. (2006). Preliminary Data for Health E-Stats. Released November 21, 2006.

6 But There is More Work to Do
One in three teens becomes pregnant by age 20. One-quarter of teen parents have a second child before they turn 20. Higher teen pregnancy and birth rates than comparable countries. Recent data show declines in teen birth rates are slowing. --The U.S. still has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world. --One in three teen girls becomes pregnant at least once before age 20 = 750,000 pregnancies/year --There are 3 million cases of STDs annually reported among teens (CDC)

7 Teen Pregnancy’s Link to Poverty and Other Social Issues
What are the chances of a child growing up in poverty if his/her mother: (1) gave birth as a teen, (2) was unmarried when the child was born, and (3) did not receive a high school diploma or GED? 27% if one of these things happen. 42% if two of these things happen. 64% if three of these things happen. If none of these things happen, a child’s chance of growing up in poverty is 7%. A child born to a teen mother who has not finished high school and is not married is nine times more likely to be poor than a child born to an adult who has finished high school and is married. Source: Why It Matters, National Campaign

8 Consequences of Teen Pregnancy
Only 40% of young teen mothers graduate from high school. Teen fathers earn less than older fathers (20-21). Compared to children born to older mothers (20-21 years old), children born to teen moms are more likely to: to drop out of high school. to use Medicaid and SCHIP. to experience abuse/neglect. to enter the foster care system. to end up in prison (sons).

9 The Costs of Teen Childbearing

10 Why We Did This Analysis
A classic example of offering many ways to see the importance of teen pregnancy: human face effect on mother effect on child poverty, welfare dependence, etc. taxpayer cost

11 An Overview By The Numbers: The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing
Project goal: Measure the costs that could be averted if teen mothers, 19 and younger, delay their first birth to years old. What is the impact on the young mother and her child’s subsequent life outcomes and what does this cost taxpayers? Both national and state-specific cost estimates have been measured. With funding from the WT Grant Foundation, the National Campaign worked with Dr. Saul Hoffman and Dr. Rebecca Maynard to update the national cost of teen childbearing. This was last calculated in Kids Having Kids, a landmark study published by the Urban Institute in In that volume, Rebecca Maynard estimated that the annual cost to taxpayers of childbearing among teens aged 17 and younger was nearly $7 billion in the mid-1990s, and the cost to society as a whole was nearly twice that amount. In our update of the analysis, we decided to include year olds. In addition to updating the national cost estimate, we worked with Saul to produce state-level estimates of the public costs of teen childbearing. This is the first time we have consistent state-level cost estimates (some states have done their own estimates using a variety of methodologies). We worked with two pilot states – Delaware and Texas – to refine the methodology. Our main project goal was to measure the costs that could be averted if teen mothers, 19 and younger, delay their first birth to years old. We controlled for all background characteristics such as education, poverty, etc. The one thing that we’re changing is when the woman gave birth. We’re comparing two groups of women – one group of women that gave birth at 19 or younger and one group that gave birth at 20.5 years old. What’s the impact on her subsequent life outcomes – and her children’s – and what does that cost tax payers.

12 Costs Included in the Analysis
Costs linked to teen moms Public assistance Lost tax revenue Costs linked to the children of teen parents Public Health Care Incarceration of sons Child welfare Costs linked to teen fathers Costs to teen moms --Public assistance includes TANF, food stamps, housing. --Lost tax revenue is the decreased earnings and spending due to lower education attainment. The overwhelming majority of the costs are those to the children of teen mothers. --These children as adults, have decreased earnings and spending due to lower education attainment. --Public Health Care – more likely use Medicaid and SCHIP. The public health care also includes CHAMPUS and a small share of Medicare for disabled children. --Incarceration - Although the numbers of young women in juvenile justice and prisons are growing, the numbers were still too small to determine whether having a teen mother is a risk factor. --Child welfare- mostly foster care costs. Teen fathers Lost revenue – again due to decreased earnings and spending.

13 National Findings Teen childbearing costs taxpayers at least $9.1 billion annually. Total cost breakdown is $8.6 billion for 17 and younger and $0.5 billion for year olds. Average annual public sector cost associated with a child born to a mother aged 17 and younger is $4,080. The average cost for a mother 19 and younger is $1430.

14 National Findings Most of the costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers and include: $1.9 billion for increased public sector health care costs $2.3 billion for increased child welfare costs $2.1 billion for increased costs for state prison systems (among adult sons of teen mothers) $2.9 billion in lost tax revenue due to lower taxes paid by the children of teen mothers over their own adult lifetimes. The average cost for a mother 19 and younger is $1430.

15 National Findings: Cumulative Costs and Savings
Between 1991 and 2004, there have been more than 6.7 million teen births in the US. This cost taxpayers a total of $161 billion between 1991 and 2004. The one-third decline in the teen birth rate between 1991 and 2004 yielded substantial cost savings. Taxpayers saved $6.7 billion in 2004 alone. Imagine the cost savings if the nation’s teen birth rate continues to decline 1/3 in the next 10 years. This would not only reduce the burden on taxpayers, but also serves as an opportunity to invest dollars in other priority areas such as teen pregnancy prevention programs.

16 National Findings: Cumulative Costs and Savings
There were approximately 6.8 million teen births in the United States between 1991 and The estimated cumulative public costs of teen childbearing during this time period are $161 billion.

17 Costs for the Children of
Teen Mothers Children of teen mothers are more likely to: Have decreased educational attainment Earn less money Suffer high rates of child abuse and neglect Grow up poor Live in single-parent households Enter the child-welfare system Become teen mothers themselves As you can see the greatest cost are for lost tax revenue, followed by health care, incarceration, and child welfare.

18 Cumulative Costs and Savings
For more information:

19 What Can You Do? Recognize the problem isn’t solved. Help parents.
Support proven teen pregnancy interventions. Support youth programs more broadly. Set a goal.

20 Please visit our website at
Thank You! Please visit our website at

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