Today’s release of new data on the costs of teen childbearing is a wake-up call that the United States needs to make more investments in prevention.
June 09, 2011
These findings from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unintended Pregnancy are the most recent set of data showing that teen childbearing costs taxpayers close to $11 billion per year. The National Campaign’s findings present a conclusion remarkably similar to three Guttmacher Institute studies published this month in the scientific journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Greater public investment in sex education and family planning services is needed to reduce the rates of unintended pregnancy.
“We know what works to keep young people from becoming pregnant. Sex education works. Hundreds of studies have demonstrated that sex education is effective when it provides the information, interpersonal skills and motivation that young people need to delay sex — and use contraception and condoms when they do have sex. More than 30 evidenced-based sex education programs already exist, and researchers are evaluating several others aimed at helping young people make responsible decisions about their sexual and emotional health. Once young people become sexually active, they must have access to family planning services.
“By whatever rigorous methods we use to calculate the cost of childbearing, the conclusion is the same: teenagers must have the tools they need to plan for parenthood.”
Washington, DC — Planned Parenthood today called upon all Americans to recognize the urgency of reducing the nation’s teen unintended pregnancy rate. Teen pregnancy and birthrates have declined sharply since the early 1990s. But a new report from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy shows that teen childbearing cost United States taxpayers $10.9 billion in 2008.
The National Campaign report links teen pregnancy to other negative consequences that increase financial costs to taxpayers. According to the report, if those giving birth during their teen years instead had their children during adulthood, U.S. taxpayers would save about $1,600 per person annually. Prior studies have found that over 80 percent of teen pregnancies are unintended.
The June 2011 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health includes a study from researchers at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization, that detailed a similar $11 billion toll from unintended pregnancy. That report estimated that the government spent between $9.6 billion and $12.6 billion paying for more than 1.2 million unintended pregnancies in 2001. Two additional studies, also published in same issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, had similar findings.