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Missoula Measures - Teen Pregnancy

graph Montana teen birth and abortion rates 2000-2013



Why this topic?

The short- and long-term social and economic costs associated with teen pregnancy are high for the mother and, even more critically, for the child. Immature pregnant girls are often left on their own to make a host of challenging adult decisions — about carrying and keeping the baby, health care, education, and how to live and support themselves and their babies. While pregnant, these young women are less likely to access early prenatal care and are more likely to drink, smoke, and use other drugs, thus having a life-time negative impact on their children. Most teen parents are living in poverty when their children are born. Despite the best intentions of family and/or social services, most pregnant teens cannot overcome the challenges and obstacles to providing a stable, supportive atmosphere for their children during the critical first years.

Teen pregnancy and childbearing are closely linked to other social issues, including poverty and income disparity, overall child well-being, out-of-wedlock births, and low educational attainment for the mothers.

In Montana, teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $26 million in 2010.  MT DPHHS, Family and Health Bureau

How we are doing

Montana Teen Birth & Pregnancy Report 2012, MT DPHHS Vital Statistics 2012, MT DPHHS State of the State’s Health 2013, MT DPHHS Stats of the State of Montana, CDC

More Montana teen pregnancy data - MT DPHHS, Family and Health Bureau - Includes teen births by Montana county.

graph Montana teen birth rates of larger counties 2013

graph Montana teen birth rates highest and lowest countiesy 2013


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Related Data

CDC Site on Teen Births

Montana Teen Birth and Pregnancy Report - 2012, MT Dept. Health & Human Services

Teen Girls and Older Partners

A series of studies in 1999 revealed that the age of partners, and the age differences between partners in particular, may affect the nature of relationships, which in turn may affect sexual behaviors. Female adolescents with an older partner are less likely to report using contraception at their first sexual intercourse as well as at their most recent sexual intercourse, and are more likely to become pregnant than female adolescents with a partner closer in age.  Charting Parenthood by Child Trends

Charting Parenthood - A statistical portrait of fathers and mothers in America


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High Cost Infants

Teen births represent 9% of all live births in Montana. However, more than 1/4 of all "high cost" infants are born to teens.  2010 Montana Kids Count  High cost infants, usually of low birth weight, are so called because of the extent of medical and social services required by the child well into maturity, and often for the child’s parent(s) as well.

Why are US rates so high?


Montana Teen Birth & Pregnancy Report 2012, MT DPHHS Vital Statistics 2012, MT DPHHS State of the State’s Health 2013, MT DPHHS Stats of the State of Montana, CDC

Social impacts of teen parenting

The National Center for Fathering reports the following consequences for children who grow up fatherless and whose mother is a teen:

The cost of unintended pregnancies

Very few pregnancies to women under age 20 are intended.  In 2010, two-thirds (68%) of the 1.5 million unplanned births (to women of all ages) were paid for by public insurance programs, primarily Medicaid. Guttmacher Institute 


Teen sexual activity

graph montana teen sexual behavior 1991-2013 


graph montana hi school students who used condom, or used alcohol or drugs before sex 1995-2013

graph hi school students who had sex in past 3 months, YRBS, 2013, US and Montana


According to BRFSS, about 10% of high school students report that, in their lifetime, they have been forced to have sex.


Related Websites

CDC - Unintended Pregnancy

Links to health data, statistics and information from many national sources.

Women's Health Statistics - by state; National Institute for Health; includes teen pregnancy.


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