Surveillance for pregnancy and birth rates among teenagers, by state--United States, 1980 and 1990

MMWR CDC Surveill Summ. 1993 Dec 17;42(6):1-27.


Problem/condition: In the United States in 1990, there were an estimated 1 million pregnancies and 521,826 births among women ages 15-19 years. Rates of teenage pregnancy and birth rates by state in 1990 exceeded those in most developed countries. An estimated 95% of teenage pregnancies are unintended (i.e., they occur sooner than desired or are not wanted at any time).

Reporting period covered: This report summarizes and reviews surveillance data for pregnancies, abortions, and births among women ages 15-19, 15-17, and 18-19 years reported by CDC for 1980 and 1990.

Description of system: Data for births and abortions were reported to state health departments and other health agencies and sent to CDC. The data from each state included the total number of births and abortions by age and race/ethnicity.

Results: Data in this report indicate that pregnancy rates by state among U.S. teenagers ages 15-19 years have changed little since 1980. Moreover, many states have reported increases in birth rates that are probably related to concurrent decreases in abortion rates. Pregnancy rates range from 25 to 75 per 1,000 for 15- to 17-year-olds and from 92 to 165 per 1,000 for 18- to 19-year-olds.

Interpretation: States with low rates of teenage pregnancy or birth may have developed and used prevention strategies directed at the needs of both younger and older teenagers; these programs may serve as models for other states where birth rates have remained high or have increased since 1980.

Actions taken: CDC will continue to conduct surveillance of and analyze data for pregnancies, abortions, and births among teenagers to monitor progress toward national goals and to assist in targeting program efforts for reducing teenage pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Legal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Abortion, Legal / trends
  • Adolescent
  • Birth Rate / ethnology
  • Birth Rate / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / ethnology
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology