Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 2000. SD 4.7 Second- and Higher-Order Births to Teens

01/01/2000

Bearing a child during adolescence is associated with poor outcomes for young women and their children.86 Giving birth to a second child while still a teen further increases these risks.87 Yet, analyses of nationally representative data indicate that in the 2 years following the first birth, teen mothers have a second birth at about the same rate as older mothers.88

In 1999, more than one in every five births to teen mothers was a birth of second order or higher. The proportion of teen births that were second or higher order increased from 22 percent in 1980 to peak at 25 percent in 1991 but has since declined to 22 percent in 1999. This pattern is evident across racial, ethnic, and marital status groups (see Table SD 4.9). The rate of second births to teens who have had a first birth fell 21 percent between 1991 and 1996 and has changed little since (data not shown).89

The increased use of contraceptives by teenage mothers may account for this drop in second births. Teenage mothers are increasingly using Depo-Provera and Norplant implants as their primary method of birth control. These contraceptives last longer and are more reliable than birth control pills or condoms, whose effectiveness is contingent upon proper and consistent use. In fact, one in four teenagers who already have a child used one of these two longer-lasting methods, compared to 5 percent of teenage females without children.90

Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin. Births to black and Hispanic teens are more likely to be subsequent births than births to white teens. In 1999, 26 percent of births to black teens, 23 percent of births to Hispanic teens, and 18 percent of births to non-Hispanic white teens were second- or higher-order births.

Differences by Marital Status. A higher proportion of births among married teens are second or higher order than births to unmarried teens. In 1998, 29 percent of births to married teens were second or higher order, compared with 20 percent among unmarried teens.

 

86 Moore, K.A., Myers, D.E., Morrison, D.R., Nord, C.W., Brown, B.V., & Edmonston, B. 1993. Age at First Childbirth and Later Poverty. Journal of Research on Adolescence 3 (4): 393-422; Maynard, 1996.
87 Kalmuss, D., & Namerow, P.B. 1992. The Mediators of Educational Attainment among Early Childbearers. Unpublished manuscript. Columbia University, Center for Population and Family Health.
88 Moore, K.A., Morrison, D.R., Nord, C.W., & Blumenthal, C. 1993. The Consequences of Early Childbearing in the 1980s. Unpublished tables. Washington, D.C.: Child Trends.
89 Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A., Curtin, S.C., Park, M.M., & Mathews, T.J. “Births: Final Data for 1998” National Vital Statistics Report 48 (3). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
90 Ventura, Mosher, Curtin, Abma, & Henshaw. 2000. “Trends in Pregnancies and Pregnancy Rates by Outcome: Estimates for the United States 1976–1996”. Vital and Health Statistics Series 21 (56). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.

 

Table SD 4.7 Percentage of all births to women under age 20 in the United States that are second or higher order, by marital status and by race and Hispanic origin of mother: Selected years, 1980-1999

  1980 1985 1991a 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
All births 22 23 25 22 21 21 22 22 22
Race and Hispanic origin
Whitea 19 20 19 17 17 17 18 18 18
Blacka 27 28 33 28 27 27 27 27 26
Hispanicb 20 25 25 23 23 24 24 24 23
Marital Status
Married 24 26 28 26 26 27 28 29
Single 19 20 23 20 19 20 20 20

a Includes persons of Hispanic origin before 1990. Beginning 1990 persons of Hispanic origin are not included; figures for black women for 1999 include Hispanic women.
b Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
Sources: Ventura, et al., 2000. Births: Final Data for 1998. Curtin & Martin. 2000. Births: Preliminary Data for 1999. Ventura, et al., 1999, Births Tables 2 and 7; Ventura, et al., 1998, Natality 1996, Tables 2 and 7; also previous issues of this annual report (vol. 45, no. 11, supp., tables 2 and 6; vol. 44, no. 11, supp., tables 2 and 6; vol. 42, no. 3, supp.; vol. 36, no. 4, supp.; vol. 31, no. 8, supp., table 2 in each); also unpublished tabulations, Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics.

 

Figure SD 4.7 Rate of second births to teenagers who have had a first birth, 1985-1998

Sources: Ventura, et al., 2000; Vital and Health Statistics 21, Table A.

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