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New CDC Vital Signs: Nearly 20 percent of teen births are repeat births

Repeat births can be prevented

Nearly one in five teen births is a repeat birth, according to a Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although teen births have fallen over the past 20 years, the number of repeat births remains high and there are substantial racial/ethnic and geographic differences.

  • Repeat births: A repeat birth is a second (or more) pregnancy resulting in a live birth before the age of 20. More than 365,000 teens, ages 15-19 years, gave birth in 2010, and almost 67,000 (18.3 percent) of those were repeat births.
  • Racial disparities: Repeat teen births were highest among American Indian/Alaska Natives (21.6 percent), Hispanics (20.9 percent), and non-Hispanic blacks (20.4 percent), and lowest among non-Hispanic whites (14.8 percent).
  • Geographic disparities: Repeat teen births ranged from 22 percent in Texas to 10 percent in New Hampshire. Data show that although nearly 91 percent of teen mothers who were sexually active used some form of contraception in the postpartum period, only 22 percent used contraceptives considered to be “most effective” (that is, where the risk is less than one pregnancy per 100 users in a year.)

There are things that can be done to prevent repeat teen births. Health care providers, parents, guardians, and caregivers can talk to both male and female teens about avoiding pregnancy by not having sex and can discuss with sexually active teens the most effective types of birth control to prevent repeat teen pregnancy.

For more information about teen pregnancy, visit CDC’s Teen Pregnancy website.

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  • teens holding hands

    Breaking the cycle of Teen Pregnancy: 1 in 5 teen births are repeat births

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  • Repeat teen births can be prevented

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  • There were 365,000 births to teens, ages 15-19, in 2010

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Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286


Tom Frieden, MD, MPH


Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH

Teen birth rates in the United States have declined to a record low, which is good news. But rates are still far too high. Repeat births can negatively impact the mother’s education and job opportunities as well as the health of the next generation. Teens, parents, health care providers, and others need to do much more to reduce unintended pregnancies

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Wanda D. Barfield, MD, MPH


Wanda D. Barfield, MD, MPH, FAAP, Captain, U.S. Public Health Service

Wanda D. Barfield, MD, MPH, FAAP - Captain, U.S. Public Health Service

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