Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Teenager Pregnancy: Costs for Taxpayers
Recent reports on teen pregnancy have shown a dramatic decline in teen birth in the U.S. from 1990 through 2004. In fact, the 2002 rate of births per 1,000 15 to 19 year old girls is 31% lower than the 1991 rate of 62 births to 1,000 teen girls. And, while this IS good news, it’s also impossible to ignore the fact that the U.S. still has the highest teen pregnancy and birth rates in the industrialized world.
Teen childbearing creates challenges not only for young mothers and fathers, but also for their children, who face many problematic outcomes such as delays in their development and high risk behaviors. But the consequences reach far beyond that nuclear family. A decade ago, researchers estimated that teen childbearing cost federal, state and local governments (and the taxpayers who support them) almost $7 billion a year. According to a recent report published by the nonprofit- non-partisan National Campaign to Prevent Teen pregnancy, in just ten short years, that number has risen to at least $9.1 billion per year.
These costs include both those associated with teen mothers and their partners as well as the costs of caring for the children of teen mothers. For example, costs include $1.9 billion for increased public sector health care costs, $2.3 billion for increased child welfare costs and $2.9 in lost revenue due to lower taxes paid by the children of teen mothers over their own adult lifetimes.
This research brings light to the economic impacts of teen childbearing to U.S. society and why prevention of early childbearing is so important.