Unintended Pregnancy Among U.S. Adolescents: Accounting for Sexual Activity


Lawrence B. Finer of the Guttmacher Institute stresses the need for teen pregnancy prevention programs, based on his finding that sexually active teens are actually at a greater risk of unintended pregnancy than previously understood.

While unintended pregnancy rates traditionally include all women in the total, calculations using only sexually active women resulted in the highest rates among those ages 15 to 19. Their rate of unintended pregnancies was 147 per 1,000 – based on a sexually active rate of 27 percent – nearly triple the national rate of unintended pregnancies for women between 15 and 44, which is 51 per 1,000.

Finer encourages health educators, parents and policymakers to focus on educating teens on protection and safety as they become sexually active.

This analysis is based on the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), U.S. Census data and information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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