National Partnership for Women & Families

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Teen Births Cost Taxpayers About $11B Annually, Study Shows

Teen Births Cost Taxpayers About $11B Annually, Study Shows

June 10, 2011 — Teen pregnancies in 2008 cost U.S. taxpayers about $10.9 billion, including $2.3 billion in increased public-sector health costs, according to a report released on Thursday by the National Campaign To Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, National Journal reports. Health care, foster care, incarceration and lost tax revenue accounted for the majority of the costs. Each teen birth costs taxpayers about $1,647 each year, the report notes.

The U.S. teen birth rate is one of the highest in the developed world, though the rate has trended downward in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Campaign report found that the decline in teen births from 1991 to 2008 saved taxpayers $8.4 billion in 2008. The U.S. teen birth rate dropped by more than one-third between 1991 and 2005 but increased by 5% in 2006 and 2007 before decreasing again in 2008.

In 2009, about 409,840 infants were born to women ages 15 to 19, and two-thirds of births to women younger than 18 were unplanned, according to CDC (Fox, National Journal, 6/9).