The National Cost of Teen Pregnancy & Childbearing

By Christine Cupaiuolo — October 30, 2006

Last month we noted that the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy had identified the annual cost of teen childbearing in the state of Arizona. Now all states know where they stand.

The Campaign has just released “By the Numbers: The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing,” a report authored by Saul Hoffman, an economics professor and department chair at the University of Delaware. The report provides the first-ever state-by-state analysis of the costs of teen childbearing.

In 2004, those numbers ranged from $12 million in Vermont to more than $1 billion in Texas. California ranked second at $896 million and Florida was a distant third at $481 million.

Nationally, the total cost to taxpayers (federal, state, and local) was at least $9.1 billion in 2004.

According to the Campaign, the report considers “the aggregate costs of teen childbearing to adolescents and their families, the public sector, and society at large. Key public sector cost components include: heath care, foster care, public assistance, criminal justice, and lost tax revenues.”

Teen childbearing has declined by about one-third since the early 1990s, dropping from 62 births per 1,000 teen girls in 1991 to 41 births in 2004. The abortion rate has decreased as well, from 43.5 abortions per 1,000 teen girls in 1988 to 22 in 2002, according to a report (PDF) released in September by the Guttmacher Institute.


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