Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting
Minnesota State Adolescent Sexual Health Report
According to the 1998 Minnesota Student Survey, the percentage of sexually active teens in public schools in Minnesota declined from 1989 to 1998. There has been a proportional decrease of approximately 16% in the rate of sexual intercourse for female students and 25% for male students.1 In 1998, 20% of 9th grade females and 28% of 9th grade males in public schools reported being sexually active, and 51% of 12th grade females and 49% of 12th grade males reported being sexually active (Figure 1).2 Nationally, 12th grade students (61%) were significantly more likely than 9th grade students (38%) to have had sexual intercourse.3
In Minnesota, 85% of sexually active 9th and 12th graders reported alcohol use during the past year. Nationally, 25% of currently sexually active students said that they used alcohol or drugs at last sexual intercourse. Additionally, male students (31%) were significantly more likely than female students (19%) to report that they used alcohol or drugs at last sexual intercourse.4
In Minnesota, 41% of sexually active 9th grade females and 39% of sexually active 9th grade males reported always using contraception. Additionally, 65% of sexually active 12th grade females and 57% of sexually active 12th grade males reported always using contraception. Also, 63% of 9th grade females, 63% of 9th grade males, 50% of 12th grade females and 58% of 12th grade males who were sexually active reported using a condom at last intercourse. Teens who said they had been physically or sexually abused were twice as likely to be sexually active by 9th grade as were students with no history of abuse. In Minnesota, 15% of sexually active 9th and 12th graders reported a history of sexual abuse (non-family and/or family).6 Conversely, 59% of 9th and 12th graders who were sexual abuse victims were sexually active (versus 32% of non-abused students).
Nationally, 7 of every 10 women who had sex before age 14. Six of every 10 women who had sex before age 15 report having had sex involuntarily.7 Additionally, among women who had sex before reaching age 13, 71% report that it was unwanted and 23% report that it was involuntary. In general, the younger teens are when they first have sex, the more likely they are to report first sex as unwanted or involuntary.8
In Minnesota, 6% of 9th grade females and 10% of 12th grade females reported being a victim of violence while on a date. According to a national survey, girls who had been physically or sexually abused reported that the abuse occurred typically at home, it took place more than once, and the abuser was a family member or family friend. In addition, one in four high school girls said they had been either sexually abused, physically abused, and/or abused by a date or boyfriend.9
Among students in Minnesotas public schools who are not sexually active, the most frequently reported influences on the choice to abstain given by 9th grade males were "I dont want to get an STD" and "One or both of my parents would object." Among 9th grade female students, "I dont want to get pregnant" and "I don't want to get an STD" were the major reasons for abstaining from sex. Nationally, 44% of teenage girls who have not had intercourse said that they abstain from sex because it contradicts their religious or moral values. Other reasons cited include the desire to avoid pregnancy (20%), fear of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (13%), and not having met the appropriate partner (20%).10
STDs and HIV
In Minnesota there were a total of 6,982 cases of chlamydia, 2,709 cases of gonorrhea, and 9 cases of primary/secondary syphilis in 1998. During the same year, persons aged 15-19 accounted for 32% of all cases of gonorrhea, 38% of all cases of chlamydia (Figure 2), and 11% of all cases of syphilis reported in Minnesota.11 The rate of gonorrhea among 15-19 year olds decreased from last year ( 243 per 1,000 in 1996 to 224 in 1997). Nationally, every year, three million teens, or 1 in 4 sexually experienced teens, acquire an STD.12
According to the 1998 Minnesota Student Survey, 14% of 9th grade females, 11% of 9th grade males, 14% of 12th grade females, and 13% of 12th grade males reported they were worried about getting an STD or HIV. That same year approximately half of all sexually active students (11% of 9th graders and 30% of 12th graders) report talking with every sexual partner about protection from STDs/HIV/AIDS.
Two females and four males ages 13-19 years old were reported to the Minnesota Department of Health as testing positive for HIV/AIDS in 1998. Fourteen females and 21 males, ages 20-24 years old, were reported to the Minnesota Department of Health as testing positive for HIV that same year, though many of these individuals were likely infected as teenagers.13 Additionally, many people may have been infected with HIV during their teen years, but were neither tested nor reported.
Pregnancies and Births15
In 1998, 155 Minnesota teens under 15 years old became pregnant, 2,690 teens aged 15-17 years old became pregnant, and 5,202 teens aged 18-19 years old became pregnant (Figure 3). In total, 7,892 teens aged 15-19 years old became pregnant. The combined 1996-1998 pregnancy rate for 15-17 year olds was 26 per 1,000 females, for 18-19 year olds was 76 per 1,000, and for 15-19 year olds was 45 per 1,000 (Figure 4).16&17
Each day in Minnesota in 1998, 22 teens between the ages of 10 and 19 became pregnant. The pregnancy rate is higher among 15-19 year olds in the seven county metro area than in the other eighty counties (56 in the metro area compared to 37 in greater Minnesota).
Between 1991 and 1998, the pregnancy rate among 15-17 year olds in Minnesota decreased by 27%, from 33 to 24 per 1,000 women. In Minnesota, 40% percent of all pregnancies among females 15-19 ended in induced abortion in 1998.
In 1998, there were 90 births to females under 15 years old, 1,850 births to 15-17 year olds, and 3,747 births to 18-19 year olds. In total, there were 5,597 births to 15-19 year olds. The combined 1996-1998 birth rate for 15-17 year olds was 18 per 1,000 girls, for 18-19 year olds was 54 per 1,000 girls, and for 15-19 year olds was 32 per 1,000 girls.18
Each day in Minnesota in 1998, 16 teens 10-19 years old gave birth. Although the teen birth rate in Minnesota is low compared to other states, the absolute number of births to teens under age 15 increased by 100% between 1980 and 1998, from 45 births to 90 births.
The birth rate among teens 15-17 years old decreased 19% between 1991 and 1998 from 21 to 17 births per 1,000 girls. The birth rate for 15-19 year olds decreased by 16% during the same period, from 37 to 31 births per 1,000 girls.
Between 1991 and 1998, the teen birth rate decreased 18% among 15-19 year olds in the United States, from 62 to 51 births per 1,000 women. In Minnesota, the 1998 birth rate among teens ages 15-19 was 31 per 1,000, substantially lower than the national rate of 51 per 1,000 (Figure 5).
In 1998, 18% of births to 15-19 year olds in Minnesota were subsequent births (second, third, etc.). There was a 10% decrease in subsequent births among 15-19 year olds between 1991 and 1998 (1,145 in 1991 compared to 1,028 in 1998).
In 1998, 51% of teen mothers in Minnesota reported the age of their childs father to be within two years of their own age (Figure 6). Approximately one-third (35%) reported that the age of the father was within three to six years of their own age, and the rest (14%) reported that the age of the father was seven or more years older.19
Final data for 1998 show that the birth rate among 15-19 year olds has declined slowly, but steadily, for seven years in the United States. Since 1991, the U.S. teen birth rate has declined by approximately 18%, from 62 per 1,000 in 1991 to 51 in 1998.20 In 1998, Minnesota had the countrys fifth lowest teen birth rate with 31 births per 1,000 females aged 15-19 years old. States with teen birth rates lower than Minnesota include Maine, North Dakota, New Hampshire and Vermont.21
In a comparison of teen birth rates by race in all regions of the state, Hispanic/Latino and African American teens in the metro area have the highest teen birth rates (117 and 133 per 1,000 females aged 15-19, respectively), followed by Native American (114).
Among youth residing in the outer metro area, African American and Hispanic/Latino teens also have the highest teen birth rates (78 and 57 per 1,000 females aged 15-19, respectively). Although the teen birth rate among whites in all regions is under 28 per 1,000 females, the absolute number of babies born to white teens is higher than any other racial group.
Prenatal Care/Low Birth Weight
Adequate use of prenatal care services is good insurance for a healthy pregnancy, birth and baby.23 Teens in the United States are less likely to get adequate prenatal care than adult women.24 In Minnesota in 1998, it was reported that 11% of pregnant women under 18 years old received no care or inadequately used prenatal care throughout their pregnancies (versus 4% of women ages 20-29 and 3% of women ages 30-39). Additionally, 9% of births to teens under 18 years old in 1998 resulted in infants who were reported as low birth weight (versus 6% of births to women ages 20-29 years old and 5% of women ages 30-39).25 It should be noted that the association between maternal biological age and low birth weight can sometimes be very strong, but the association does not appear to be causal. Low birth weight is strongly associated with poverty; women who are childbearing as teens are more likely to be poor than women who wait until their 20s or 30s to have children.26
While few teen parents in Minnesota are recipients of the Minnesota Family Investment Program, or MFIP (formally known as AFDC), families that began with a teen giving birth are more likely to be on public assistance than those who first gave birth between 20 and 24 years of age. In 1998, approximately 41% of families who received MFIP in Minnesota began with a birth to a teen.27
Based on the average cost per case, more than $12 million in public assistance (MFIP) is spent each month on Minnesota families that began with a teen giving birth. This amount accounts for 44% of the total public assistance (MFIP) provided to all Minnesota families. This data includes parents who had their first child as a teenager but could be older now.
Nationally, the federal government spends an estimated $39 billion each year on families begun by teenagers. An estimated 55% of the cash benefits, food stamps and Medicaid are attributable to households begun by teens and 25% of adolescent mothers receive public assistance by their early twenties.28 One national study estimates that teen childbearing alone costs U.S. taxpayers nearly $7 billion annually for social services and lost tax revenues. Experts estimate that taxpayers potentially could save as much as $15 billion annually if they were successful in both preventing young teen childbearing and addressing many of the other problems that contribute to the poor outcomes observed for teen parents.29
Revised by Cuc Kim Vu, Project Assistant, MOAPPP