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Study: U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rate Among World's Highest, Despite Declines

Study: U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rate Among World's Highest, Despite Declines

January 27, 2015 — Despite declines in the U.S. teen pregnancy rate since the 1990s, the nation continues to have the highest teen pregnancy rate among countries that track such data, according to a new Guttmacher Institute study, The Hill reports.

For the analysis, researchers examined data from the United Nations Statistics Division.

According to the study, there were 57.4 pregnancies per 1,000 girls ages 15 through 19 in the U.S in 2010. After the U.S., the countries with the highest rates are New Zealand, with 51 per 1,000, and England and Wales, with 47 per 1,000.

Countries with the lowest teen pregnancy rates include the Netherlands, Singapore and Slovenia, each with 14 pregnancies per 1,000 15- to 19-year-olds and Switzerland, with eight per 1,000. The researchers noted that worldwide, teen pregnancy rates remain the highest in areas of Africa, Latin American and former Soviet nations, but those countries do not have complete data on the pregnancies.

The study also found that the percentage of teen pregnancies that end in abortion differs greatly among the studied countries, all of which permit abortion. For example, 26% of teen pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion, compared with 70% in Sweden, according to the study.

Study author Gilda Sedgh said in a statement, "The long-term decline in teen pregnancy rates in many countries is great news. Yet it is clear that far more needs to be done to bring down the comparatively high rates in countries like the United States and England and Wales so that they are on par with those in countries like Switzerland and the Netherlands" (Viebeck, The Hill, 1/23).