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Missoula Measures - Teen Pregnancy


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.

How are we doing?

We’re doing better, but there are still some significant concerns. Some trend data include an increasing percentage of non-marital births and a slightly decreasing overall pregnancy rate. However, there is no measure of the specific portions of the pregnant teen population which warrant more help and attention.


graph Montana birth and abortion rates, 2000-2012

This information is not available by county.


Youth Sexual Behavior - Teens sexually active; teen condom use - Missoula Measures

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


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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 Prevention Resource Center, 2000

Social impacts of teen parenting

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

The cost of unintended pregnancies

Very few pregnancies to women under age 20 are intended.  In Montana in 2006, 53% of births resulting from unintended pregnancies were publicly funded, costing the state $33 million.  Guttmacher Institute 


Teen sexual activity

graph high school students ever had sex, and had sex in past 3 months, 1995-2013


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


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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