May 13, 2015
May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is calling for all Minnesotans to use Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month as an opportunity to get involved with initiatives to reduce teen pregnancy in communities throughout the state.
Minnesota has one of the lowest overall teen pregnancy rates in the country with an average of 22.1 pregnancies per 1,000 teens. This relatively low rate is the result of a dramatic decline in teen pregnancies among all racial and ethnic groups during the past 20 years. Since 2006, the number of pregnancies declined 58 percent, and teen pregnancy rates dropped 11 percent between 2012 and 2013.
However, teen pregnancy is still a significant public health concern and Minnesota has some striking disparities in teen pregnancy by poverty, race and ethnicity, and geography. In addition, when compared to other countries, Minnesota’s teen birth rate is higher than the rates of about 50 nations.
In 2013, there were 3,878 teen pregnancies in Minnesota with whites, who comprise 80 percent of Minnesota’s female adolescents, accounting for 57 percent of the births. However, the highest 2013 teen pregnancy rates were among American Indian (52.8 per 1,000), African-American (52.5 per 1,000) and Hispanic (47.5 per 1,000) youth, and were significantly greater than teen pregnancy rates among whites (15.1 per 1,000). Data also reveals geographic disparities in teen pregnancy and birth rates with Greater Minnesota counties having some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state.
“Preventing teen pregnancy is an important component of MDH’s health equity initiative,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “We must continue with our successful programs involving sex education, abstinence and birth control, while at the same time improving the economic and social health of our communities. By providing our youth with promising futures, we are also supporting them in their choices to prevent pregnancy, finish high school and successfully transition to adulthood.”
Teen pregnancy is closely linked to a number of critical social and public health issues such as intergenerational poverty, and low educational attainment. Children of teen parents are more likely to have unfavorable outcomes such as premature birth and low birth weight. Becoming a teen mother affects whether the young woman finishes high school, goes to college, and the type of job she will get, especially for younger teens ages 15 to 17.
The Minnesota Department of Health supports several evidence-based programs that use prevention and community health promotion approaches to reducing adolescent pregnancies. Program components such as in-school and after-school curricula, healthy youth development programs, community service learning, peer education, and a public awareness campaign to educate young people about how to make positive decisions and build healthy relationships.
For more information on National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month 2015, visit the U.S. Family and Youth Services Bureau, and for more information about Minnesota's teen pregnancy prevention programs, visit Maternal and Child Health Programs and Grants. The MDH 1992-2013 Minnesota Student Survey Trend Report, which includes data specific to sexual behavior among young adults, can be found on the MDH website at: Minnesota Student Survey.