Teen Childbearing Cost Taxpayers $9.4 Billion in 2010

Dec 03 2013

(Washington, DC)—Teen childbearing in the United States cost taxpayers (federal, state, and local) at least $9.4 billion in 2010, according to an updated analysis released by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

These public sector costs would have been even higher had it not been for the roughly 50% decline in the U.S. teen birth rate between 1991 (the peak year for teen childbearing) and 2010. The estimated national savings to taxpayers in 2010 alone due to the substantial decline in the teen birth rate between 1991 and 2010 was $12 billion.

"Reducing teen pregnancy not only improves the well-being of children, youth, and families, it saves taxpayer dollars," said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign. "One of the nation's great success stories of the past two decades has been the historic declines in teen pregnancy and childbearing. Even so, the steep public costs associated with teen childbearing are just one reason why policymakers should not let their foot off the gas when it comes to investing in preventing too-early pregnancy and parenthood."

Since peaking in the early 1990s, rates of teen pregnancy (down 42%) and teen births (down 52%) in the U.S. have declined dramatically at the national level, in all 50 states, and among all racial/ethnic groups. Most adults, however, are unaware of the historic declines—fully 49% of adults inaccurately believe the nation's teen pregnancy rate has increased over the past two decades, according to new survey data also released today by The National Campaign. Just 18% of adults believe the teen pregnancy rate has declined.
About the data and survey: The updated costs estimates are based on research originally conducted by Saul Hoffman, Ph.D. of the University of Delaware and released by The National Campaign in 2006. Survey data are drawn from a national telephone survey conducted for The National Campaign by Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS.com), an independent research company. Interviews were conducted in November 2013 among a nationally representative sample of 1,005 respondents age 18 and older. The margin of error is +/-3.1% at the 95% confidence level.

About The National Campaign: The National Campaign is a private, non-profit organization that seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families by preventing teen and unplanned pregnancy. Please visit www.TheNationalCampaign.org to find out more.

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