Teenage pregnancies, also commonly referred to as adolescent pregnancies, happen all over the world, carrying specific health risks, psychological struggles, and unfavorable socio-economic outcomes – and the data obtained through relevant studies confirm it.
For instance, did you know that teenage pregnancy statistics have shown that child-bearing teenagers are at higher risk of anemia and that the majority of them remain single mothers?
We have reviewed a number of similar stats and facts and picked the most informative ones that currently apply – and some of them are quite disturbing.
Top 10 Teenage Pregnancy Statistics for 2021
- 64% of abortions performed on teenage women are dangerous.
- Prevalence of teenage pregnancy is higher in poor countries—95% of teenage pregnancies happen in less developed countries.
- Every year, 7.3 million teenagers around the world give birth to their first child.
- Facts about teenage pregnancy imply that teen mothers have higher chances of postpartum depression, PTSD, and suicidal tendencies.
- Teenage pregnancy statistics from the USA show that rates are declining.
- In Romania, over 2,000 teen girls younger than 16 give birth each year – the youngest ones are only 12 years old.
- Adolescent pregnancy statistics suggest that complications are the leading cause of both maternal and fetal deaths.
- Children born to teen mothers have higher chances of being underachievers.
- Teenage pregnancy statistics by state suggest that Arkansas and Mississippi have the highest teenage parenthood rates.
- By the time they have reached adulthood, almost 25% of Kenyan girls become mothers, and up to 50% give birth by the time they’re 20.
Teen Pregnancy Facts: Medical Risks and Social Challenges
Becoming a mother is arguably one of the best feelings in the world, but it is not easy. It is even more challenging when it comes to teenage pregnancies because these girls are exposed to social obstacles.
They often receive judgment rather than support, and face an array of medical risks. Here is how it all affects them.
1. Adolescent pregnancy statistics suggest that complications are the leading cause of both maternal and fetal deaths.
Pregnancies in teenagers, or more specifically, the complications related to it, are the major cause of teenage girls’ mortality all over the world. The reason for this lies in the physical immaturity of teenage bodies, which are not ready to carry out the pregnancy.
Physical immaturity can lead to a wide range of complications (e.g. endometriosis, systemic infections, preterm delivery, etc.). Babies born to teen mothers also have a greater risk of health complications, including digestive, respiratory, cognitive, and other problems.
2. Prevalence of teenage pregnancy is higher in poor countries—95% of teenage pregnancies happen in less developed countries.
On top of that, around 3 million of unintended pregnancies end in illegal and unsafe abortions which impose a further strain on health of young women.
3. 64% of abortions performed on teenage women are dangerous.
More specifically, this means that 3.9 out of 5.6 million abortions are unsafe. This is a significant factor in increasing the risk of maternal mortality, morbidity and other individual long-term health problems.
4. Teenage pregnancy facts report that pregnant teenagers are highly likely not to get adequate prenatal care.
Teenagers who get pregnant and decide to keep the baby often lack emotional support from their surroundings and, because of this, are at risk of not getting proper health care.
This is a serious problem, since prenatal healthcare is crucial, especially during the initial pregnancy stages. It includes prenatal screening and regular monitoring of the baby’s progress so that any potential problems are prevented, as well as taking necessary nutrients such as folic acid.
5. Facts about teenage pregnancy imply that teen mothers have higher chances of postpartum depression, PTSD, and suicidal tendencies.
A recent study examining over 6,000 Canadian women, including both teenagers and adult women, has revealed that girls aged 15 to 19 are twice as likely to face postpartum depression than mature women.
Some studies claim that teen mothers are more likely to experience PTSD and suicidal thoughts. One possible explanation for this is verbal and physical violence that many teenage mothers go through both prior to and during the pregnancy.
6. As per teenage pregnancy statistics from the US, teenage parents usually do not obtain a degree, or they do it significantly later than their peers.
The rationale behind this is that teenage parents often face financial difficulties due to their age and the lack of support from their families. Even though there are certain schools that have implemented daycare programs, which serve to facilitate the graduation process for teen moms, it is not yet a widespread practice.
Up to ½ of average teenage mothers are struggling to obtain a high school degree by the time they’re 22, while 90% of their childless peers graduate in due course.
7. Children born to teen mothers have higher chances of being underachievers.
Teen pregnancy statistics show that these children have greater chances of low academic attainment or even dropping out of school than kids of adult parents. Furthermore, their health often deteriorates, they have higher chances of committing a crime, becoming teenage parents themselves, and later on, facing difficulties finding proper jobs.
Teenage Pregnancy Statistics by Country
Teenage pregnancies happen in some countries more than in others. While you may think it happens more in some less developed countries, and there is some truth to it, it may not be entirely true. Let’s look into some numbers to find out more.
8. Every year, 7.3 million teenagers around the world give birth to their first child.
This means there are 20,000 underaged births every day. This amounts to 7.3 million births a year. And if all pregnancies are included, not just births, the number of adolescent pregnancies is much higher.
9. Teenage pregnancy statistics from the USA show that rates are declining.
In 2008, the US had a teenage birth rate of 41.5 births per 1,000 teenage girls aged 15 to 19, and by 2018, it seems to have declined by almost a half (to 17.4 births per 1,000 girls in the same age range). The key cause identified was that teens got to know more about contraception methods and other preventive measures.
During one period of the observed timespan (2008-2018), an increasing number of teenagers had been using some of the highly effective contraceptives, such as intrauterine contraceptive devices (the use of these has leaped from 0.4% to 7.1% over a seven-year portion of the observed period).
10. Teenage pregnancy statistics by state suggest that Arkansas and Mississippi have the highest teenage parenthood rates.
(World Population Review)
With 30.4 births per 1,000 teen girls, Arkansas is the US state with the highest incidence of teenage pregnancies. Interestingly, Arkansas is a strikingly religious and traditional state. However, even Arkansas has had a birth-rate decline during the previous years (from 59.1 per 1,000 in 2005 to 30.4 per 1,000 in 2018).
Teen pregnancy statistics by state further indicate that Mississippi has the second-highest teen birth rate of 27.8 births per 1,000 women, and the reasons identified were lack of sexual education, as well as high rates of poverty and discrimination. Still, regardless of these figures, the US remains one of the developed countries with the highest rates of teen pregnancy.
8. 2017 teen pregnancy statistics show that 51.7% of teenage pregnancies in the UK ended in an abortion.
Unfortunately, this is the highest percentage ever recorded over the 25 year-period preceding 2017. What this shocking information implies is that sex education in the UK has still not reached a satisfactory level.
Unintended pregnancies can be prevented, but young people have to be provided with quality sex education, including thorough instructions on contraception methods and further enhancement of healthcare services in the domain of reproductive health.
9. In Romania, over 2,000 teen girls younger than 16 give birth each year – the youngest ones are only 12 years old.
According to the recent teenage pregnancy statistics, as in most parts of the world that mark high teenage pregnancy rates, over 66% of these girls come from rural regions.
The analysis suggests that the high incidence of teenage pregnancies in Romania is a result of not just poverty but also the lack of proper parenting caused by emigration (a large number of Romanian children have been left to their grandparents by parents going abroad) and inadequate sex education.
10. In Ethiopia, over 80% of teenage pregnancies are those of married teenage moms.
As per teen pregnancy stats In Ethiopia, teen pregnancy is a widespread problem – it seems that about 14% of Ethiopian girls get married by the time they are 15, and over 40% of them by the time they reach 18. With that in mind, it is no wonder that 83% of teenage pregnancies happen to married girls.
Of course, large variations exist between regions, income groups, and educational levels. Additionally, Ethiopian teenagers get pregnant more frequently in rural regions (15%), as compared to the urban ones (5%).
11. The number of under-18 conceptions in Nigeria could get above 60 million by the end of 2020.
(This Day Live)
Apart from the socio-economic factors contributing to the high rates of teenage pregnancy in Africa, there is one that is especially characteristic of Nigeria. The research has shown that family dysfunction is strikingly common there, and one of the recent surveys has revealed that girls who grow up in such families are actually those most likely to increase the incidence of Nigerian teenage pregnancy.
12. By the time they have reached adulthood, almost 25% of Kenyan girls become mothers, and up to 50% give birth by the time they’re 20.
Apparently, teenage pregnancy statistics show that it frequently occurs in Kenya. Apart from the vast majority of sexually-active teen girls not using contraception (up to 60%), another important reason behind it is that not many Kenyan girls are able to escape the poverty they grew up in and enhance their socio-economic status.
As compared to boys, Kenyan girls are more likely to drop out of school at an early age due to reasons such as school expenses or living far away from education institutions, which, among other things, often results in sexual abuse and teen pregnancy.
What year had the highest teenage pregnancy rate?
The teenage pregnancy rate was at its highest during the baby boom era – at 96.3 per 1,000 teenage girls, increasing dramatically after World War II. However, the profile of a teen mother was different in comparison to the present day. During the 50s and 60s, up to 85% of teenage moms were married, whereas nowadays, nearly the same percentage of teen moms are not.
Which state has the highest teenage pregnancy rate?
(World Population Review)
Arkansas is the state with the highest pregnancy rate, followed by Mississippi, as stated in the countries section (with even 30.4 births per 1,000 teen girls). Still, regardless of having the highest teen pregnancy rate within the US, Arkansas’s birth rate has dropped steeply from 2005 to 2018 as well (as per the data stated above).
What percentage of teenage pregnancies end in abortions?
Approximately 82% of 350,000 US pregnancies are unwanted, and 31% of these end up in abortions. Some of the states have undertaken certain measures for preventing abortions, such as adopting laws prohibiting it unless a parent gives their consent or is at least notified prior to the procedure. Some of the newer statistics from the UK, for instance, show that 51.7% of unintended pregnancies end up in abortions.
What is the teenage pregnancy rate in 2018?
The rate reported in 2018 was 17.4 births per 1000 girls aged 15 to 19, which is a significant decline if we compare it to 2005, which counted twice the number.
Some of the reasons might be that, in the meantime, an increasing number of teenagers have started using some of the efficient contraceptives, such as IUD (the use of these has leaped from 0.4% to 7.1% during the observed period).
Is teenage pregnancy increasing or decreasing?
Fortunately, it is not increasing anymore. During the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the 1990s, there was a marked rise in the number of teenage conceptions, but from the 1990s on, it has been decreasing. Today, the statistics show that the situation has improved. All of the US states have seen a decrease in the number of teen pregnancies, and it applies to all social groups.
What race has the highest teenage pregnancy rate?
According to the 2017 statistics, the teenage birth rate is the highest among American Indian/Alaska Native teens (32.9 per 1,000 teenage girls). In the same year, Non-Hispanic Caucasian teens had a teenage birth rate of 13.2 per 1,000. The birth rates of Hispanic teens and non-Hispanic African American teens were both approximately twice as high, with 28.9 and 27.5, respectively.
Just like any other global problem, teenage pregnancy must be approached with the awareness of its principal causes. As teenage pregnancy statistics indicate, those that have been commonly identified are the lack of sex education and the improper distribution of information on reproductive health, sexual abuse, forced marriage, lack of access to formal education, poverty, problems within the family, etc.
Since adolescent pregnancy is still the leading cause of mother-child mortality, governments have developed numerous sexual education programs. However, in addition to these, it is essential that the teenagers receive timely support from the adults they trust, who should also make them aware of the healthy choices regarding human relationships, including sex and birth control.