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Childbirth to teenage mothers in the United States peaked in the mid-1950s at approximately 100 births per 1,000 teenage girls.
In 2010, the rate of live births to teenage mothers in the United States dropped to a low of 34 births per 1,000.
There are, however, girls as young as ten who are sexually active and occasionally become pregnant and give birth.
In general, however, there are two divergent views used to explain teenage pregnancy.
Some authors and researchers argue that labeling teen pregnancy as a public health problem has little to do with public health and more to do with it being socially, culturally, and economically unacceptable.
In spite of this decline in teenage pregnancy over the years, approximately 820,000 (34 percent) of teenage girls in the United States become pregnant each year.
What’s more, some 85 percent of these pregnancies are unintended.
The number of teen pregnancies and the pregnancy outcomes are often used to support claims that teenage pregnancy is a serious social problem.
The other side of this debate presented in publications by groups like the World Health Organization (World Health Organization 2004) reflects the medical professionals, public health professionals, and academicians who make a case for viewing teenage sexuality and pregnancy in terms of human development, health, and psychological needs.
Demographic studies continue to report that in developed countries such as the United States, teenage pregnancy results in lower educational attainment, increased rates of poverty, and worse “life outcomes” for children of teenage mothers compared to children of young adult women.
Teenage pregnancy is defined as occurring between thirteen and nineteen years of age.
The bibliographic citations selected for this article will be extensive.
The objective is to cover the major issues related to teenage pregnancy and childbearing, and adolescent pregnancy and childbearing.
These two divergent views of teen pregnancy are represented in the United States by groups such as Children’s Aid Society; Healthy Teen Network; Center for Population Options; Advocates for Youth; National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy; National Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Parenting, and Prevention; state-level adolescent pregnancy prevention organizations; and other organizations that include teen pregnancy within their scope of interest and services. 2011 delineates other important aspects of teenage pregnancy (race, poverty, and religious influences) that help explain why teenage pregnancy is considered a problem in some circles.