Bearing a child during adolescence is often associated with long-term difficulties for the mother and her child. These consequences are often attributable to poverty and other adverse socioeconomic circumstances that frequently accompany early childbearing.25 Compared with babies born to older mothers, babies born to adolescent mothers, particularly young adolescent mothers, are at higher risk of low birthweight and infant mortality.8, 9, 26 They are more likely to grow up in homes that offer lower levels of emotional support and cognitive stimulation and they are less likely to earn high school diplomas. For the mothers, giving birth during adolescence is associated with limited educational attainment, which in turn can reduce employment prospects and earnings potential.27 The birth rate of adolescents under age 18 is a measure of particular interest because these mothers are still of school age.
NOTE: Data for 2009 are preliminary. Race refers to mother's race. The 1977 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Standards for Data on Race and Ethnicity were used to classify persons into one of the following four racial groups: White, Black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, or Asian or Pacific Islander. Although state reporting of birth certificate data is transitioning to comply with the 1997 OMB standard for race and ethnicity statistics, data from states reporting multiple races were bridged to the single-race categories of the 1977 OMB standards for comparability with other states and for trend analysis. Rates for 1980–1989 are not shown for Hispanics; White, non-Hispanics; or Black, non-Hispanics because information on Hispanic origin of the mother was not reported on birth certificates of most states and because population estimates by Hispanic ethnicity for the reporting states were not available. Data on race and Hispanic origin are collected and reported separately. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
SOURCE: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System.
In 2009, the adolescent birth rate was 20.1 per 1,000 adolescents ages 15–17. There were 124,256 births to these adolescents in 2009, according to preliminary data. The 2009 rate was lower than the 2008 rate of 21.7 per 1,000 and the 2007 rate of 22.1 per 1,000. The rate has fallen for two consecutive years, continuing a decline briefly interrupted in 2005–2007; the longterm decline began 1991–1992.8,9,11,28 In 1991, the rate was 38.6, and it declined to 21.4 births per 1,000 in 2005.
6 Martin, J.A., Hamilton, B.E., Sutton, P.D., Ventura, S.J., Mathews, T.J., and Osterman, M.J.K. (2010). Births: Final data for 2008. National Vital Statistics Reports, 59(1). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
8 Ventura, S.J., and Bachrach, C.A. (2000). Nonmarital childbearing in the United States, 1940–1999. National Vital Statistics Reports, 48(16). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
9 Mathews, T.J., and MacDorman, M.F. (2010). Infant mortality statistics from the 2006 period linked birth/infant death data set. National Vital Statistics Reports, 58(17). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
10 Hamilton, B.E., Martin, J.A., and Ventura, S.J. (2010). Births: Preliminary data for 2009. National Vital Statistics Reports, 59(3). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
11 Hamilton, B.E., Sutton, P.D., and Ventura, S.J. (2003). Revised birth and fertility rates for the 1990s and new rates for Hispanic populations, 2000 and 2001: United States. National Vital Statistics Reports, 51(12). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
12 Ventura, S.J. (2009). Changing patterns of nonmarital childbearing in the United States. NCHS Data Brief, No. 18. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
25 Klerman, L.V. (1993). Adolescent pregnancy and parenting: Controversies of the past and lessons for the future. Journal of Adolescent Health, 14, 553–561.
26 Kiely, J.L., Brett, K.M., Yu, S., and Rowley, D.L. (1994). Low birthweight and intrauterine growth retardation. In L.S. Wilcox, and J.S. Marks, (Eds.), From data to action: CDC's public health surveillance for women, infants, and children (pp. 185–202). Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
27 Maynard, R.A. (Ed.). (2008). Kids having kids: Economic costs and social consequences of teen pregnancy. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute Press.
28 Ventura, S.J., and Hamilton, B.E. (2010). U.S. teenage birth rate resumes decline. NCHS Data Brief, No. 58. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.