Teenage Pregnancy and Childbearing In Hawai`i

Adolescent pregnancy and childbearing are matters of substantial national concern. Research has shown valid reasons for concern:

Families formed by a first birth to a couple who are unmarried or to a mother who is under 20 or has not completed high school have been found to be at greatest risk of poverty and instability.

Children born to teenage moms have been found to be more likely to have health and developmental problems, to fail in school and to become delinquent.

Young women who become pregnant before age 18 have been found to be at higher risk of school failure, delinquency and poverty that restricts their opportunities in life. Causal patterns are difficult to find: poor teen women and those with educational deficits are more likely to initiate sexual activity at earlier ages. Nevertheless, sustained poverty, frustration and hopelessness are all too often the long-term outcomes.

National Trends:

  • Young men and women are increasingly delaying marriage.
  • Teenagers are becoming sexually experienced at younger ages.
  • Contraception among sexually active teenagers has increased.
  • Declining abortion rates have increased the number of births resulting from pregnancies.
  • More than 75% of single teen mothers receive welfare sometime in the first five years after giving birth. Mothers under age 20 make up about 8% of AFDC cases, but over half of all the mothers on AFDC had their first children as teenagers.

Hawai`i Trends:

  • % ever had sexual intercourse (age16-17)* females=44.8; males=35.8
  • % having sexual intercourse in past 3 months* females=32.6; males=19.3
  • Contraceptive use during last sexual intercourse* 1995=74%; 1997=76%

1985
1990
1995
1997
Teen birth rate
(per 1000 women age 15-19)
48.9
61.6
48.1
44.2
Teen birth rate
(per 1000 women age 15-17)
23.3
32.5
27.7
25.1
% of all births
that are to teens
9.8
10.5
10.1
10.0
(commonly used, but not a good measure--affected by fertility of older women)


Hon

HI

Kauai

Maui

1997 teen pregnancy rate
(women age 15-19)
66.5
102.0
64.5
83.4
1997 teen pregnancy rate
(women age 15-17)
41.2
69.4
41.5
8.7
% pregnancies with
live birth outcome
58.8
65.4
63.3
67.6


* Information from 1997 Hawaii Youth Risk Behavior Survey Report; other information from Office of Health Status Monitoring (events) and US Census (population)

Prepared by Hawai`i Kids Count 7/99 -- U.H. Center on the Family 956-4136

The United States continues to have the highest teen birth rate among all industrialized nations. Sexual activity rates are similar in the U.S., Netherlands, Sweden, and Canada, but rates of contraceptive use vary. Therefore, teen pregnancy rates are also higher in the U.S.

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