Pregnancy rates are the total rates of live births, abortions, and fetal losses (miscarriages). Pregnancy rates among adolescents of all racial and ethnic groups have declined steadily over the past decade. Overall, pregnancy rates among those under age 15 dropped 40 percent and rates for those 15-17 declined 33 percent between 1990 and 2000 (the last year for which complete data are available). Among adolescents under age 15, the steepest decline was seen among non-Hispanic Blacks, whose pregnancy rate fell 50 percent, from 11.8 to 5.9 pregnancies per 1,000 females aged 10-14. Among adolescents aged 15-17, the total pregnancy rate declined from 80 pregnancies per 1,000 females in 1990 to 54 per 1,000 in 2000. Rates within this age group vary by race and ethnicity, with the highest rates seen among non-Hispanic Blacks, (100.7 pregnancies per 1,000) and Hispanics (83.1 per 1,000), compared to non-Hispanic White females (32.5 per 1,000). Within the 15-17 age group, the greatest decline was among non-Hispanic Blacks whose pregnancy rate fell 63 percent, from 165.0 to 100.7 pregnancies per 1,000 females.

For adolescents under age 15, the rate of each potential pregnancy outcome declined about 40 percent. For those aged 15-17, the abortion rate dropped 46 percent while the rates of live birth and fetal loss each declined by approximately 25 percent. In 2000, among those aged 15-17, a higher percentage of pregnancies resulted in births compared to those in 1990. This pattern was particularly evident among non-Hispanic White adolescents, among whom the abortion rate declined 60 percent while the rate of live births and fetal losses dropped 32 percent.

Graph: Pregnancy Rates for Adolescents by Age and Race/Ethnicity[d]