Teen Pregnancy: Costs and Consequences

Teen Pregnancy:

Costs and Consequences


Prevalence and Financial Burden

  • In 2016, the teen pregnancy rate of the United States was 20 per 1,000 15-19 year old girls. For North Carolina, it was 22 per 1,000 girls.
  • About 25 percent of teen girls will become pregnant before their 20th birthday.
  • North Carolina taxpayers spend almost 400 million dollars each year to support teen mothers and their children. That equates to about 100 million Big Macs or 400,400 iPhones!

  • Low Educational/Career Attainment
  • Just under half of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by their 22nd birthday.
  • Teen mothers are more likely to face unemployment or work for minimum-wage, and receive very little, if any, child support from the baby’s father, which often results in a reliance on public assistance.
  • Teen mothers are less likely to attend college or receive some formal job training.



Mental and Physical Health Issues

  • Teen mothers are more likely to suffer from depression and other mental disorders.
  • Babies born to teen mothers are at a greater risk of having low birth rate, developmental delays, and death.
  • Children of teen mothers are more likely to be abused, neglected and taken into foster care.

  • Loss of Independence
  • While other teens are playing sports, going to the movies, etc., when you have a baby, your time is spent being a parent. This means that all of your time will be spent taking care of a baby. Do NOT risk losing your personal freedom!

  • Loss of Relationships
  • Most teens would not prefer to spend their time with other teens that have kids. The people who you thought were your friends will most likely not want to hang out with you, because you won’t have time to hang out with them. As a result, your baby will become your new BFF.

  • Sources:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/about/index.htm
  • Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health: https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-development/reproductive-health-and-teen-pregnancy/teen-pregnancy-and-childbearing/index.html

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