Although the rate of teenage pregnancy in the United States has declined greatly
within the past few years, it is still an enormous problem that needs to be addressed.
These rates are still higher in the 1990's than they were only a decade ago. The United
State's teenage birthrate exceeds that of most other industrialized nations, even though
American teenagers are no more sexually active than teenagers are in Canada or Europe.
Recent statistics concerning the teen birthrates are alarming. About 560,000
teenage girls give birth each year. Almost one-sixth of all births in the United States are to
teenage women are to teenage women. Eight in ten of these births resulted from
unintended pregnancies. (Gormly 347) By the age of eighteen, one out of four teenage
girls will have become pregnant. (Newman 679)
Although the onset of pregnancy may occur in any teenager, some teens are at
higher risk for unplanned pregnancy than others. Teenagers who become sexually active
at an earlier age are at a greater risk primarily because young teenagers are less likely to
use birthcontrol. African-American and Hispanic teenagers are twice as likely to give birth
as are white teenagers. Whites are more likely to have abortions. Teenagers who come
from poor neighborhoods and attend segregated schools are at a high risk for pregnancy.
Also, teenagers who are doing poorly in school and have few plans for the future are more
likely to become parents than those who are doing well and have high educationsl and
occupational expectations. Although the rate of teenage pregnancy is higher among low-
income African-Americans and Hispanics, especially those in inner city ghettoes, the
number of births to teenagers is highest among white, nonpoor young women who live in
small cities and towns. (Calhoun 309)... Continues...