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Teen Births Down in U.S. Hospitals

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: May 30, 2007

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—according to the latest News and Numbers summary from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Despite the decline, the United States continues to have the highest teen pregnancy and birth rates in the industrialized world.

AHRQ also found that:

  • About 148,000 teenage and younger girls gave birth in U.S. hospitals during 2004. This represents 3.5 percent of all childbirth-related hospital stays in U.S. community hospitals.
  • More than 19.2 percent of girls delivered by Cesarean section, compared with 30.5 percent of women.
  • The highest rate of adolescent births occurred in the South, while the lowest rate was in the Northeast—52 versus 27 per 100,000 girls under age 18. Adolescent birth rates in the Midwest and West fell in between—36 and 42 per 100,000 girls, respectively.
  • 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; while in 3 percent of cases the girls had no health insurance.

This AHRQ News & Numbers summary is based on data in Childbirth-Related Hospitalizations among Adolescent Girls, 2004, HCUP Statistical Brief No. 31. The report uses statistics from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

For more information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of May 2007


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