News: Teen births fall by 21 percent in 2018

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Hennepin County Minnesota


Contact: Maria Elena Baca, Communications, 612-348-7865


Teen births fall by 21 percent in 2018

Significantly fewer teens are becoming parents in Hennepin County.

From 2017 to 2018, the teen birth rate fell by 21 percent. That one-year change among teens ages 15-19 contributes to an overall decrease of more than 65 percent since 2009.

In real numbers, 339 teens gave birth in 2018. In 2007, that number was 1,170. 

Many factors may have contributed to the change, but they align with Hennepin County Public Health’s teen pregnancy prevention program, Better Together Hennepin, begun in 2006. With  help from a federal grant, as well as state and county funding, the pregnancy prevention initiative has developed and implemented a range of evidence-based programming options meant to help teens:

  • Care and advocate for their own health and well-being, with knowledge of a range of options, from abstinence to safer sex
  • Become educated about their bodies have access to sexual health information
  • Connect with a caring adult who can answer questions and provide guidance
  • Plan for and embark on their futures before becoming parents

National studies suggest that fewer teens are having sex, and that more of them who are sexually active use contraceptives.

"Preventing teen pregnancies is a very high priority for Hennepin County, and our work has been strikingly successful,” said Hennepin County Board Member Mike Opat. “We all know that teens are not ready to become parents. This progress is the best kind of prevention work we do in county government.”

When young people have information and resources, they can create a healthy future for themselves and a healthy start for the next generation, if they choose to have or raise children.

Programming made possible by government, private partners

Better Together Hennepin relies on our partners on the ground – schools, clinics and nonprofit organizations that are rooted in their communities – to deliver information and services to the young people we serve. 

Since 2010, the program has benefited from about $18 million in federal grant monies, augmented by state and local funding, as well as investment from community partners. 

The program is working under a $1.5 million federal grant from the Office of Population Affairs. The grant expires in June 2020. Better Together Hennepin's funding future is unknown.

Much work remains to reduce disparities in teen births and to reach young people in the communities that are disproportionately affected because of structural racism and other forms of structural inequities.

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