The U.S. teen birth rate has declined 64%, but significant disparities remain.
Despite historic progress, significant disparities remain: Teen birth rates are almost twice as high among Hispanic and non-Hispanic black teens, Teen birth rates remain about one-third higher in rural areas than in urban areas, Rates remain disproportionately high among vulnerable youth, including youth living in out-of-home care, LGBTQ youth, and parenting teens.
Why Prevention is Important
For example, teen childbearing in the United States cost taxpayers (federal, state, and local) at least $9.4 billion in 2010 due to increased health care and foster care, and lost tax revenue because of lower educational attainment and income among teen mothers.
Additionally, pregnancy and birth are significant contributors to high school dropout rates among girls. Only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age, whereas approximately 90% of women who do not give birth during adolescence graduate from high school.
Help Your Teen – Importance of Communication
Planned Parenthood’s Let’s Be Honest: Communication in Families That Keeps Kids Healthy, helps parents and teens open the lines of communication and encourages them to have engaging and factual conversations about sex and sexuality.
Parents can use National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month as an opportunity to help teens identify their plans for the future, consider how those plans would be impacted by having a child, and set short-term goals in order to meet their long-term goals.
Parents should talk with their teens about their expectations of them and help them think through how to handle communicating with a partner, using protection, and resisting peer pressure.
Parents should teach youth about the meaning of consent. Consent should be verbal, mutual, sober and enthusiastic. Silence does not equal consent. Anyone can change their mind at any point. No one should be shamed, harassed, or judged because of their personal boundaries or sexual preferences. No one should be pressured, coerced, or manipulated into doing something that makes them feel uncomfortable.
It's important to talk with teens about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The best way for sexually active teens to prevent pregnancy and STIs is to use both an effective form of birth control and a condom every time.
Does your teen know how to access accurate sexual health information? Places like Planned Parenthood, provide information and services that help teens lower their risk of pregnancy and STIs, and make healthy and informed decisions about sex.
How To Start The Conversation
As parents, we are the most influential people in our child’s life when it comes to making decisions to have sex. In fact, over three-fourths of all teens-and 94% of Latino teens- feel it would be much easier to postpone sexual activity and avoid pregnancy if they were able to have more open honest conversations about these topics with their parents. However, it can be an uncomfortable topic to engage with your teens so the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy is providing bilingual resources to help you start the conversation with your teens.
A simple way to start the conversation is to have you and your teenager visit StayTeen.org to take the National Day Quiz, which challenges teens to think carefully about what they might do “in the moment.” It’s a great way to start talking sex with your teen today.
Infographic provided by Modern Latina