Skip to main content

The fight to keep teen pregnancy down is working – and losing funding

Teen births in Hennepin County dropped by two-thirds in a decade.

Teenagers are a lot less likely to be having babies these days. 

That's true nationwide, across Minnesota, and especially in the Minneapolis area. Hennepin County said Thursday teenage births went down more than 12 percent last year. 

That's an even faster decline that the statewide drop of 11.3 percent announced this summer. And the percentage of 15 to 19-year-old females giving birth in the county is about one-third of what it was 10 years ago, the numbers show. 

This summer's statewide report put together by the U of M (read it here) said the three counties with the highest teen birth rates – Mahnomen, Chippewa, and Lake – are all in rural Minnesota. 

Hennepin County says it's made reducing teen births a priority in recent years. Officials are happy to see the results, but not happy about an upcoming loss of federal funding.

$213 million getting cut nationally

There was no big announcement from Washington, but Reveal – the website of the Center for Investigative Reporting – learned in July that the Trump administration had cut more than $213 million from the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

Most of that is grant money the feds give to local agencies and much of the cutting is happening by turning five-year grants into three-year ones. 

That's the case for Hennepin County, where the lead agency fighting teen pregnancy is Better Together Hennepin. Their grant money from the federal government is now set to expire at the end of June next year, the county says. 

The campaign has other funding sources but Better Together Hennepin says losing the $1.5 million grant will cut short the progress they've seen. 

What do they do with the money?

Hennepin County says there are four pieces to its strategy for cutting down on teen pregnancies. 

  • sexuality education in schools
  • health care screening for teenagers 
  • programs that promote positive development 
  • communications training for parents so they're better equipped to help their kids

It's hard to know how directly that work has led to the drop in teen pregnancies. 

Pew Research Center says rates around the country started dropping in the 1990s, particularly during the Recession. Their research says fewer teens are having sex, they're more likely to use contraception, and they have more information about preventing pregnancy.

There's an argument to be made that if teen births are less of a problem for society, maybe we can afford to spend less money preventing them. Then again, maybe that prevention work reduced the problem.

Long-term costs of teenage births

Hennepin County officials are glad to see their local teen pregnancy rate dropping even faster than the rest of the state. And last year's county rate was less than half the 2014 national rate

One reason teen pregnancy became a priority is because it's a financial issue, as well as a social one. And if there's a rebound in the numbers, it could be expensive in the long run. 

According to the county: "Children born to teen mothers are at greater risk for infant death, childhood health problems, cognitive and emotional delays, school struggles, a continued cycle of teen parenthood, and multi-generational poverty."

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-06-25 at 11.01.17 AM

Woman breaks free after being kidnapped and taken to Brooklyn Park

The woman was taken by force as she arrived at her work in Plymouth.

image

How the fastest animal on the planet returned to MN after local extinction

The fastest animal on Earth had once vanished from Minnesota and Wisconsin.

image

St. Paul's new 'skate trail' brings non-traditional park to life

Gateway Park is the first of four parks to open in the Highland Bridge redevelopment.

FWDqyh6UEAENgIG

80 mph winds, large hail possible with severe storms in MN

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for much of the state until 3 a.m. Saturday.

290376311_5009722282489162_198055240351933487_n

30 people evacuated as flooding hammers small town

It's assumed that at least eight inches of rain fell in Randall, with more heavy rain expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

Intersection in Rochester.

Boy dies in motorcycle crash in Rochester

Police are investigating as of Friday afternoon.

Tab2FileL (13)

Numerous severe storms likely in Minnesota Friday night

Watch the video for the full details with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

court room

Teen pleads guilty in shooting death of 15-year-old girl in Columbia Heights

Damico Jamal-Tokyo High will receive a sentence in juvenile court, along with an adult prison sentence.

Screen Shot 2022-04-25 at 11.00.01 AM

Walz wants to use surplus money to send direct payments to Minnesotans

It's a renewed effort from a previous proposal from Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan's supplemental budget in January.

Ron Johnson

Jan. 6 committee says aide for WI senator tried to give fake elector info to Pence

The attempt was discovered through text messages in the ongoing public hearing held by the Jan. 6 select committee.

Stock U of M sign

Minnesota State colleges, U of M boosting tuition again

The Minnesota State system's Board of Trustee's approved the increase Wednesday.

Related

baby

Teen birth rate continues to plummet in Hennepin County

There were 339 teen births in Hennepin County in 2018.

Engaging teens in pregnancy prevention may be paying off

Experts say a variety of efforts aimed at curbing teen pregnancy rates are paying off, as the birth rate among Minnesota teenagers has plunged nearly 40 percent in the past two decades. Awareness programs that use teens to spark conversations with their peers, as well as increased contraception use, may be part of the reason.

Good job teens, you're getting pregnant less (but watch those STIs)

Minnesota teens are generally good at not getting pregnant, but not so good at preventing STIs.

MN child obesity rate inching down; it's less than half the grownup rate

Obesity among 2 to 4-year-olds enrolled in a nutrition program went down slightly

MN Republicans to feds: Keep your $900M in light rail funding

State lawmakers who have fought against a Twin Cities light rail project are urging the U.S. not to fund it.