Teen Births

Births to females 15-19 years per 1,000 females in that age group 

  • New Jersey State Health Assessment
  • Natality Data, National Vital Statistics System, National Center for Health Statistics
Calculated by the Dashboard Team using data from 2020, 3 year estimate.
Dashboard-City Average

Why do we measure teen births?

Around 75% of teen births in the U.S. are unintended. Although the teen pregnancy rate has declined in recent years, the U.S. still has a substantially higher rate of teen births than other industrialized countries.1-4 The incidence of teen births is not the same throughout the country but differs by race, geography, and economic status.5 The relationship between teen births and these socioeconomic characteristics can be attributed in part to inequities in access to family planning services and information, teens’ feelings of connectedness to their communities, differences in attitudes about contraception, and distrust of medical systems due to a history of mistreatment by the medical field.6 There are economic and health consequences for teens who give birth and their babies as well. Teens who give birth are more likely than adults to have medical complications during their pregnancy, and their children are often born earlier and at a low birthweight.8,9 They are also more likely to experience poor physical health later in life and, according to some evidence, poor mental health.10 They are less likely to complete high school, which limits their employment opportunities and income-earning potential.11

How do we measure teen births?

This metric includes any birth to a mother age 15 through 19.

Strengths and Limitations

Strengths of Metric

Limitations of Metric

• Teen births provide, in one metric, information on two vulnerable populations: teens and their children.

• Measuring and monitoring teen birth rates can help identify the need for evidence-based interventions, including sexual health education and promotion of contraceptive use, and social, economic, and health care support for teens and their children.9

• This metric only analyzes teen births, not teen pregnancies and does not include pregnancies that did not result in a live birth.10

• This metric does not include births to teens younger than 15. Although a relatively small proportion of teen births, the social, economic, and health burdens are much higher for younger parents.10



Teen births are calculated by the following formula:

teen births formula

For more information on the calculation, please refer to the City Health Dashboard Technical Documentation.

Data Source

Estimates for this metric are from Natality Data from the National Vital Statistics System of the National Center for Health Statistics. Multi-year data are available for this metric. For more information, please refer to Using Multi-Year Data: Tips and Cautions


  1. Mosher WD, Jones J, Abma JC. Intended and unintended births in the United States: 1982-2010. National health statistics reports. 2012(55):1-28.

  2. Sedgh G, Finer LB, Bankole A, Eilers MA, Singh S. Adolescent pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates across countries: levels and recent trends. J Adolesc Health. 2015;56(2):223-230.

  3. Martin JA, Hamilton BE, Osterman MJ. Births in the United States, 2015. NCHS data brief. 2016(258):1-8.

  4. National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Counting it up: The public costs of teen childbearing: key data. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy;2013.

  5. Matthews TJ, MacDorman MF, Thoma ME. Infant Mortality Statistics From the 2013 Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set. National vital statistics reports : from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System. 2015;64(9):1-30.

  6. Klein JD. Adolescent pregnancy: current trends and issues. Pediatrics. 2005;116(1):281-286.

  7. Patel PH, Sen B. Teen motherhood and long-term health consequences. Maternal and child health journal. 2012;16(5):1063-1071.

  8. Hofferth SL, Reid L, Mott FL. The effects of early childbearing on schooling over time. Family planning perspectives. 2001;33(6):259-267.

  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Social Determinants and Eliminating Disparities in Teen Pregnancy. https://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/about/social-determinants-disparities-teen-pregnancy.htm. Updated October 26, 2017. Accessed February 21, 2018.

  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital signs: teen pregnancy--United States, 1991--2009. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2011;60(13):414-420.

Last updated: June 6, 2023