Children

Cost analysis shows why it’s important Congress doesn’t cut programs aimed to reduce teen pregnancies

Cost analysis shows why it’s important Congress doesn’t cut programs aimed to reduce teen pregnancies

LatinaLista -- Having a baby is expensive. A teen mom having a baby is expensive not only for the family but for the state as well.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released a new analysis of the public costs of teen childbearing at both the national and state level.

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Counting It Up: The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing found that teen childbearing costs US taxpayers at least $10.9 billion in 2008.

Most of the public sector costs are due to what the National Campaign classifies as "negative consequences" for the children of teen moms. These include receiving public health care, child welfare, lost tax revenue because their educational attainment is lower and, in turn, they don't qualify for high-paying jobs and because studies show children of teen moms most likely end up in jail, the costs of incarceration are also factored into it.

Some states fare worse than others when it comes to costing the public:

Alabama: Teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $192 million in 2008. Of these costs, 48% were federal costs and 52% were state and local costs.

Arizona: Teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $303 million in 2008. Of these costs, 54% were federal costs and 46% were state and local costs.

California: Teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $1.1 billion in 2008. Of these costs, 32% were federal costs and 68% were state and local costs.

Colorado: Teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $184 million in 2008. Of these costs, 45% were federal costs and 55% were state and local costs.

Nevada: Teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $84 million in 2008. Of these costs, 51% were federal costs and 49% were state and local costs.

New Mexico: Teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $118 million in 2008. Of these costs, 48% were federal costs and 52% were state and local costs.

New York: Teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $377 million in 2008. Of these costs, 24% were federal costs and 76% were state and local costs.

North Carolina: Teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $392 million in 2008. Of these costs, 42% were federal costs and 58% were state and local costs.

South Carolina: Teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $197 million in 2008. Of these costs, 45% were federal costs and 55% were state and local costs.

Texas: Teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $1.2 billion in 2008. Of these costs, 57% were federal costs and 43% were state and local costs.

Utah: Teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $86 million in 2008. Of these costs, 43% were federal costs and 57% were state and local costs.

These public sector costs would have been even higher had it not been for the one-third decline in the U.S. teen birth rate between 1991 and 2008. The estimated national savings to taxpayers in 2008 alone due to the substantial decline in the teen birth rate between 1991 and 2008 is $8.4 billion----ranging from $3.4 million in Wyoming to $1.4 billion in California.

"Reducing teen pregnancy not only improves the well-being of children, youth, and families, it saves taxpayer dollars," said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "At a time when policymakers and others are intensely focused on cost-saving measures, funding proven efforts to reduce teen pregnancy is important, timely, and should be a high priority."

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