The new research detailed in this report provides: updated estimates of the public sector costs of teen childbearing in 2004; cost estimates of childbearing for those aged 17 and younger and for those aged 18-19; the first-ever estimates of the cost of teen childbearing in each state and Washington DC. The report's primary findings include: (1) Teen childbearing in the United States cost taxpayers (federal, state, and local) at least $9.1 billion in 2004; (2) Most of the costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers. These costs include $1.9 billion for increased public sector health care costs, $2.3 billion for increased child welfare costs, $2.1 billion for increased costs for state prison systems, and $2.9 billion in lost revenue due to lower taxes paid by the children of teen mothers over their own adult lifetimes; (3) The public sector costs of young teens (those aged 17 and younger) having children are particularly high. These births account for $8.6 billion of costs, an average of $4,080 per mother annually; (4) The taxpayer costs associated with teen childbearing to those aged 18-19 are estimated at $0.4 billion annually; (5) Between 1991 and 2004 there were 6,776,230 births to teens in the United States. The estimated cumulative public costs of teen childbearing during this time period is $161 billion dollars; (6) The steady decline in the teen birth rate between 1991 and 2004 has already yielded substantial cost savings; and (7) Because not all costs can be measured, and because the estimates themselves are constructed conservatively, it is certain that the full public sector costs of teen childbearing are larger than those noted in this analysis. (Author abstract)
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By the Numbers : The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing.