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UB Project 2013
Transcript of UB Project 2013
A Main Issue surrounding
Lawrence High School
Statistics of teenage pregnancy in Massachusetts
These days, it’s easy to think that our teens have glorified pregnancy. After all, we often hear about “pregnancy pacts,” and the MTV Generation surely watches “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom.” Adults like to believe that our kids emulate what they see on TV, and that there is a vast increase in teen pregnancy in the USA. Contrary to what we may think, this just isn’t so. The fact is, teen pregnancy in the USA has steadily declined in the last, two decades. In 1991, 61.8 births, per 1,000, were to teens. The most recent data, from 2009, shows that this rate has declined to 39.1 per 1,000, which represents a 37% decrease in teen pregnancy in the USA. In spite of the perceived glorification of teen pregnancy in the USA, it’s clear that fewer and fewer teens, aged 14 – 19, are becoming pregnant. This can be attributed to two main causes. First, fewer teens are engaging in sexual intercourse. They are, however, having other sexual contact, which has caused an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, but that’s another story. The second reason for the decline of teen pregnancy in the USA is an increase in contraceptive use amongst sexually active teens. In 1991, the number of sexually active teens having unprotected sex was 16%. This number declined to 12% in 2009. On top of this, more teens are actually using multiple birth control measures, such as concurrent use of condoms and the pill. Back in 1991, only 5% were that careful, and it was up to 9% in 2009. Teen pregnancy in the USA is being mitigated by contraceptive use. It is important to recognize that socio-economic and political geography play a part in teen pregnancy in the USA. Hispanic teens are fifteen times more likely to get pregnant than are their White counterparts, and Black teens are seven times more likely. The highest rates of teen pregnancies, for Whites, are in the areas where “Abstinence Only” sex education is mandated. Politics and economics seem to be determining factors in teen pregnancy in the USA. Although rates of teen pregnancy in the USA are steadily declining, we must look at the numbers in real terms. Every day, 1,100 teens give birth – that’s equal to 10% of all births. On top of this, teen pregnancy in the USA is the highest in the industrialized world. Although we’re doing better than ever before, we are hardly at a place where we can be, and the costs to society, on all levels, are high. Perhaps our youth aren’t quite as impressionable as we think they are. In spite of all those TV shows that seem to glorify teen motherhood, teen pregnancy in the USA is steadily declining. Maybe those shows actually have a reverse effect, and our kids are saying, “No, that’s not for me!” That said, it’s clear that we need to do more. Teen pregnancy in the USA is still the highest in the industrialized world, and there’s still a disparity amongst our traditional underclass. Teen pregnancy in the USA must be addressed in real ways and with real education, so that the numbers continue to decline.
Massachusetts has had consistently lower teen pregnancy and birth rates than the overall United States rates.
Teenage Pregnancy in Lawrence
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