Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 1997. SD 4.7 Teen births

04/01/1997

Research indicates that having a teen birth can have negative consequences on both mothers and their children over and above the effects of her disadvantaged background. Giving birth at an early age can limit a young womans options regarding education and employment opportunities, increases the likelihood that she will need public assistance, and can have negative effects on the development of her children.53

Between 1960 and 1985, birth rates for teens ages 15-19 dropped steadily from 89.1 to 51.0 per 1,000 teen women. This trend reversed between 1985 and 1991, and the teen birth rate increased to 62.1 per 1,000 teen women. Since 1991, the teen birth rate has again turned downward, declining to 56.9 births per 1,000 teen women by 1995 (see Figure SD 4.7).

Differences by Race/Ethnicity.54 The trends described in the previous paragraph are evident for white and black women ages 15-19. In contrast, the birth rate for Hispanic teens increased from 82.2 per 1,000 teen women in 1980 (the first year in which data were available) to 106.7 per 1,000 teen women in 1991 and has remained fairly stable since then. Preliminary data for 1995 suggest a teen birth rate of 106.2 births per 1,000 Hispanic women ages 15-19 (see Table SD 4.7).

The birth rate for black teens has remained nearly twice that of white teens since 1960. In 1995, the birth rate for white teens was 50.3 per 1,000 teen women and for black teens it was 95.5 per 1,000 teen women. Black teens had the highest birth rate until 1994, when the rate for Hispanic teens surpassed that of blacks and remained at the higher level in 1995. Black teens experienced a sharp drop between 1994 and 1995, from 104.5 to 95.5 per 1,000 women ages 15-19 (see Table SD 4.7). From 1991 to 1995, the rate for black teens dropped by 17 percent.

Differences by Age.55 Teen birth rates increase with age. In 1994, the birth rate for all teens ages 15-17 was 37.6 per 1,000 teen women and 91.5 per 1,000 teen women ages 18-19. Rates for teen females ages 10-14 (not shown) are considerably lower at 1.4 per 1,000.56 For black and Hispanic teens, the birth rate among 18-19 year olds is twice that of the 15-17 year old teen females. The birth rate of white teen females ages 18-19 is nearly three times that of younger teens ages 15-17.

Fathers of Children Born to Teen Mothers. The most recent data available (from 1988, not shown), indicates that the majority of fathers of children born to teen mothers were not teenagers themselves. For mothers age 17, more than half (55 percent) of the fathers were age 20 or older.57
 
 

Figure SD 4.7  
Teen Birth Ratesa (Births per 1,000 Teen Women Aged 15-19), by Race/Ethnicity: 1960-1995b 

SD4_7.GIF

Notes: a Births by race of mother 1980-1995. Tabulations prior to 1980 were by race of child, which assigns the child to the race of the nonwhite parent, if any, or to the race of the father, if both are nonwhite.
b Data for 1995 are preliminary. cIncludes persons of Hispanic origin.
d Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
e Data for Hispanics have been available only since 1980, with 22 states reporting in 1980, representing 90 percent of the Hispanic population. Hispanic birth data was reported by 23 states and DC in 1985; 48 states and DC in 1990; 49 states and DC in 1991 and 1992; and 50 states and the District of Columbia in 1993, 1994 and 1995. Rates in 1985 were not calculated for Hispanics because estimates for populations were not available.

Source: Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A. Mathews, T.J., Clarke, S.C., Advance Report of Final Natality Statistics, 1994. Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 44, No. 11, Supplement. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics, 1996. Also previous issues of this annual report. Ventura, S.J., Births of Hispanic Parentage, 1980. Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 32, No. 6. Supplement, Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics, 1983. 1995 preliminary data from: Rosenberg, H.M., Ventura, S.J., Maurer, J.D., Heuser, R.L., and Freedman, M.A. Births and Deaths: United States, 1995. Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 32, No. 6, Supplement 2. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics, 1996.
 

Table SD 4.7 
Teen Birth Rates by Age of Mother and Race/Ethnicity: Selected Years, 1960-1995 (Births per 1,000 Teen Women) 

                           
   
1960
1965
1970
1975
1980a
1985a
1990a
1991a
1992a
1993a
1994a
1995a,b
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
All Races
  Age 15-17
43.9
36.6
38.8
36.1
32.5
31
37.5
38.7
37.8
37.8
37.6
--
  Age 18-19
166.7
124.5
114.7
85
82.1
79.6
88.6
94.4
94.5
92.1
91.5
--
  Age 15-19
89.1
70.5
68.3
55.6
53
51
59.9
62.1
60.7
59.6
58.9
56.9
                           
Whitec
  Age 15-17
35.5
27.8
29.2
28
25.5
24.4
29.5
30.7
30.1
30.3
30.7
--
  Age 18-19
154.6
111.9
101.5
74
73.2
70.4
78
83.5
83.8
82.1
82.1
--
  Age 15-19
79.4
60.6
57.4
46.4
45.4
43.3
50.8
52.8
51.8
51.1
51.1
50.3
                           
Blackc
  Age 15-17
--
99.3
101.4
85.6
72.5
69.3
82.3
84.1
81.3
79.8
76.3
--
  Age 18-19
--
227.6
204.9
152.4
135.1
132.4
152.9
158.6
157.9
151.9
148.3
--
  Age 15-19
156.1
144.6
140.7
111.8
97.8
95.4
112.8
115.5
112.4
108.6
104.5
95.5
                           
Hispanicd,e
  Age 15-17
--
--
--
--
52.1
--
65.9
70.6
71.4
71.7
74
--
  Age 18-19
--
--
--
--
126.9
--
147.7
158.5
159.7
159.1
158
--
  Age 15-19
--
--
--
--
82.2
--
100.3
106.7
107.1
106.8
107.7
106.2
                           
Notes: aBirths by race of mother. Tabulations prior to 1980 were by race of child, which assigns the child to the race of the nonwhite parent, if any, or to the race of the father, if both are nonwhite.  
bData for 1995 are preliminary.  
cIncludes persons of Hispanic origin.  
dPersons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.  
eData for Hispanics have been available only since 1980, with 22 states reporting in 1980, representing 90% of the Hispanic population. Hispanic birth data was reported by 48 states and DC in 1990; 49 states and DC in 1991 and 1992; and 50 states and the District of Columbia in 1993, 1994 and 1995. Rates in 1985 were not calculated for Hispanics because estimates for populations were not available.  

Sources: National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Statistics of the United States, 1992, Vol. I, Natality. Washington: Public Health Service. 1995 (table 1-9). Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A. Mathews, T.J., Clarke, S.C., "Advance Report of Final Natality Statistics, 1994." Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 44, No. 11, Supplement. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics, 1996. Also previous issues of this annual report. Ventura, S.J., "Births of Hispanic Parentage, 1980." Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 32, No. 6, Supplement. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 1983. 1995 preliminary data from Rosenberg, H.M., Ventura, S.J., Maurer, J.D., Heuser, R.L., and Freedman, M.A. "Births and Deaths: United States, 1995." Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 45, No. 3, Supplement 2. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics, 1996. 

 

53 Moore, K.A. 1993. "Teenage Childbearing: A Pragmatic Perspective." Child Trends, Inc. Washington, D.C. and Maynard, R.A. (ed). 1996. "Kids Having Kids: A Robin Hood Foundation Special Report on the Costs of Adolescent Childbearing. " The Robin Hood Foundation. New York, NY.

54 Estimates for white and black teens include those of Hispanic origin. Teens of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

55 For 1995, data are not available for ages 15-17 and ages 18-19.

56 Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A., Mathews, T.J. and S.C. Clarke. "Advance Report of Final Natality Statistics, 1994." Monthly
Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 44, No. 11, Supplement. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 1996.

57 1988 National Maternal and Infant Health Survey tabulations by the Alan Guttmacher Institute. Calculations by Child Trends, Inc.
 

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