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Thru The Years Of Teen Pregnancy 19992004

Teen Pregnancy Through the Years: 1999-2004


Teen pregnancy has been a persistent issue in the United States, with significant implications for both the young mothers and their children. This article examines the trends and characteristics of teen pregnancy in the United States from 1999 to 2004, a period marked by both progress and challenges.

Decline in Teen Pregnancy Rates

One of the most notable trends during this period was the decline in teen pregnancy rates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the teen birth rate in the United States fell by 17% from 1999 to 2004, from 46.5 births per 1,000 females aged 15-19 to 38.3 births per 1,000. This decline was particularly pronounced among younger teens, with the birth rate for 15-year-olds dropping by 26%.

Factors Contributing to the Decline

Several factors contributed to this decline in teen pregnancy rates. These included:

  • Increased use of contraception: The use of condoms and other contraceptive methods increased among teens during this period, reducing the risk of unintended pregnancies.
  • Improved sex education: Schools and community organizations implemented more comprehensive sex education programs, providing teens with accurate information about contraception and pregnancy prevention.
  • Abstinence-only programs: While controversial, abstinence-only programs may have played a role in reducing teen pregnancy rates by encouraging teens to delay sexual activity.
  • Economic factors: The economic recession of the early 2000s may have also contributed to the decline in teen pregnancy rates, as teens were less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior when faced with financial challenges.

Characteristics of Teen Pregnancy

Despite the overall decline in teen pregnancy rates, certain groups of teens remained at higher risk. These included:

  • Minority youth: Teen pregnancy rates were significantly higher among African American and Hispanic youth compared to white youth.
  • Low-income youth: Teens from low-income families were more likely to become pregnant than those from higher-income families.
  • Teens with low educational attainment: Teens who dropped out of school or had low academic achievement were more likely to experience teen pregnancy.

Consequences of Teen Pregnancy

Teen pregnancy has serious consequences for both the young mothers and their children. These consequences include:

  • Health risks: Teen mothers are at increased risk for pregnancy-related complications, such as preeclampsia and premature birth. Their children are also more likely to be born with low birth weight and other health problems.
  • Educational challenges: Teen mothers often face significant educational challenges, as they may have to drop out of school or attend alternative programs. This can limit their future employment opportunities.
  • Economic hardship: Teen mothers are more likely to live in poverty and rely on government assistance. They may also have difficulty finding stable employment.
  • Social stigma: Teen mothers often face social stigma and discrimination, which can make it difficult for them to access resources and support.

Prevention and Intervention

Preventing teen pregnancy requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the underlying factors that contribute to it. Effective prevention strategies include:

  • Comprehensive sex education: Providing teens with accurate information about contraception, pregnancy prevention, and healthy relationships is essential for reducing teen pregnancy rates.
  • Access to contraception: Ensuring that teens have access to affordable and effective contraception is crucial for preventing unintended pregnancies.
  • Support for teen mothers: Providing teen mothers with comprehensive support services, such as prenatal care, parenting education, and job training, can help them overcome the challenges of teen pregnancy and improve their lives.


The decline in teen pregnancy rates from 1999 to 2004 was a positive development, but significant disparities and challenges remained. Addressing the underlying factors that contribute to teen pregnancy, such as poverty, lack of education, and social stigma, is essential for further progress. By implementing effective prevention and intervention strategies, we can help reduce teen pregnancy rates and improve the lives of young people and their families.

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