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Rate of childbirth-related hospital stays decreases for girls under age 18

The rate of teenage and younger girls giving birth in U.S. hospitals dropped by a quarter between 1997 and 2004—from 55 to 41 admissions per 100,000 girls under age 18—a 25 percent decrease, according to a new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Despite the decline, the United States continues to have the highest teen pregnancy and birth rates in the industrialized world. Of the 4 million childbirth-related hospitalizations that occurred in 2004, about 148,400 were for girls under 18 years of age, resulting in nearly $465 million in aggregate hospital costs.

Medicaid was billed for nearly three of every four teen childbirths—with total costs of about $348 million. Private insurers got the bill for 21 percent; 2 percent went to other payers, such as Tricare; and in 3 percent of the cases, the girls had no health insurance.

For more information, go to Childbirth-Related Hospitalizations among Adolescent Girls, 2004, HCUP Statistical Brief #31 at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs.jsp.

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