Kids Having Kids in Texas

Despite large declines in teen birth rates…

The teen birth rate in Texas has fallen by 43 percent over the last two decades and by 5 percent in the last year alone. Research shows that effective abstinence-plus sex education programs have led to a delay and decline in teen sexual activity and an increased use of contraceptives by sexually active teens.

…teen births are still common in Texas.

In Texas, each day 118 babies are born to a teen mother, and another 209 teens become pregnant. Texas has the fifth-highest teen birth rate in the nation, and the nation’s highest rate of repeat births to teen mothers.

Hispanics are the fastest-growing population in Texas, and they have the highest teen birth rate. Therefore, the Texas teen birth rate will remain persistently high without greater intervention.

Teen pregnancies have long-term consequences for fragile Texas families.

Nearly all teen births are unplanned and to unmarried parents. These unintended pregnancies bring unique economic and emotional challenges and are linked to a number of negative outcomes for:

Teen mothers

  • Are the least likely of all age groups to seek prenatal care; putting both themselves and their children at-risk for health complications
  • Face challenges in completing their education; only 38 percent complete high school and less than 2 percent go on to obtain a college degree
  • Are likely to experience financial instability; 63 percent receive some type of public assistance within one year of their child’s birth
  • Are twice as likely to experience depression and anxiety

Children

  • Are more likely to grow up in poverty
  • Score significantly worse on math and reading tests
  • Are more likely to spend time in jail; sons of teen mothers are more than twice as likely to be incarcerated
  • Are more likely to become teen parents themselves; daughters of teen mothers are nearly three times more likely to experience a teen birth than their peers

Society

  • In 2008, the cost of teen childbearing in the U.S. was more than $9.4 billion and more than $1.1 billion in Texas alone

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