Why Teen Pregnancy is a Concern
Teen Pregnancy is a concern in many countries. In this paper a teen is defined as a male or female between the ages of 14-20. Of the Western industrialized nations, the United States has one of the highest teen birth rates. In the United States approximately 905,000 teens become impregnated each year: 9.4% of our youth population. Of this group an estimated 78% of pregnancies were unintended and in 40% of the cases the teen was under the age of 20. Although the number of teen pregnancies has decreased from 1 million, the statistics support the continuation of efforts to reduce these rates.


The high number of adolescent births in our country is more than just an isolated problem, it is a problem that reaches across our entire culture. Nearly two thirds of America’s high school population is sexually active by the time they graduate. We need not focus solely on the teens that become pregnant; we need to focus on our youths’ sexual patterns as a whole.

How Trends are Monitored

To monitor the trends in our population relating to the rates of teen pregnancy, five major surveys are used: the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), the National Survey of Adolescent Males (NASM), the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), and the National Health Institute Survey (NHIS). The results of a variety of surveys are used in order to lower high or low skewed results.


NSFG is not limited to the teen population. It provides detailed info on fertility related behavior among a nationally representative household sample of woman/girls ages 15-44 (Santelli, Duberstien, Abma, Sucoff & Resnick, 2000). The sample population for this survey is extracted from all 50 states. The survey is conducted face-to-face in a private setting with trained interviewers. Both parental and adolescent sexual perspectives are reflected in this survey.


NSAM is the male counterpart to the teenage sub-sample of NSFG. The results of the survey are reflective of the national population of males ages 15-19. Like NSFG, the survey is conducted in a similar face-to-face interview. There is more emphasis, in this survey, on sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.


Both YRBS and Add Health are surveys conducted using a nationally representative sample of students. The YRBS is designed to reflect the national population of both male and female students in both public and private schools grades 9-12. The YRBS surveys a broad range of youth health behaviors and is administered through a paper and pencil questionnaire in the classroom.


Add Health surveys a nationally representative sample of youth grades 7-12. Add health was designed to examine the antecedents of health-related behaviors emphasizing the social contexts of which they occurred under.


The NHIS was used in conjunction with the YRBS surveys to provide data relating to the socioeconomic aspect of sexual behavior in youth. The surveys reflect national percentages for families with adolescents ages 14-17 and were completed by the household adult. Family income, adult educational attainment, family structure, marital status, and race/ethnicity were elements reflected in the results of the survey. Each element

Significance of Survey Results
The demographics of our youth population as it relates to sexual behavior, is also a key element to consider when forming programs to reduce risky sexual behavior in adolescents. By demographics I am referring to parent-child relationship, peer influence, ethnicity, education, socioeconomic status, and religion. By comparing the results of NHIS with that of YRBS the effects of socioeconomic status on youth sexual behavior. Socioeconomic status was surveyed in its impact on five different sexual behaviors: ever having sex, sexual intercourse in the past three months, multiple partners in the past three months, condom use at time of last sexual experience by either partner, and oral contraceptive use at last sexual encounter by either partner (Santelli, Lowry, Berner & Robin 2000).


The four elements used to determine socioeconomic status were each separated into four classes. Income was divided into a family income of less than $20,000 per year, $20,000-$34,999 per year, $35,000-$49,000, and $50,000 or more dollars earned per year. Parental education was determined by the adult with the highest level of education in the household. Educational status was defined as less than a high school degree, high school