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

Image from iOS

Storm fells tree in Coon Rapids, splitting house in two

The family was reportedly in the basement at the time.


2-year-old dies in farming accident in western Wisconsin

The child was run over by farm equipment, according to the sheriff.

storm, severe, shelf cloud

Another bout of severe storms expected across MN

More nasty storms could spawn tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds.

Screen Shot 2022-05-12 at 6.59.33 AM

Storms leave wreckage, flooding, tens of thousands without power

Record levels of rain and 80 mph winds caused havoc in the metro.

Screen Shot 2022-05-11 at 7.04.37 PM

LIVE UPDATES: Dangerous storms move through Twin Cities

We'll have live updates as the storms move through the metro.


Tornado watch issued in Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

The watch will remain in place until midnight.

Wild fox.

Wild fox in Minnesota tests positive for highly contagious avian flu

This is the first confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a wild mammal in the state, the Department of Natural Resources said.

New COVID-19 testing site in Midway neighborhood.

New COVID-19 testing site in St. Paul; 3 others to close as cases rise

Testing sites in Stillwater, Hutchinson, and St. Paul are closing as part of moves to adjust testing resources.

Screen Shot 2022-05-11 at 4.47.49 PM

St. Joseph man dies in motorcycle crash

The 27-year-old motorcyclist struck a curb, causing him to lose control before he crashed.


Downtown bike day—city biking at its best!

Move Minneapolis and ABC Ramps Mobility invite you to come along for the ride at Target Plaza on June 1, 2022

Anthony Skelley

Charges: South St. Paul teen killed during apparent marijuana sale

The individual accused of killing Skelley is a 17-year-old from St. Paul.



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.