National Data

The Story

Power to Decide, the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy, believes that all young people should have the opportunity to pursue the future they want, to realize their greatest possibility, and to fully follow their intentions. This includes having the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant.

The nation has made remarkable progress. Since peaking in the early 1990s, the teen birth rate has fallen 67% overall and 9% in the last year alone. This progress is wide and deep; there has been significant progress in all 50 states and among all racial/ethnic groups.

Progress is not limited to teens. Rates of unplanned pregnancy among women in their 20s are now falling for the first time in many years—a decline of 22 percent among women age 20-24 and 13 percent among women age 25 to 29 between 2008 and 2011.

Even so, not every young person has the power to decide. Rates of teen pregnancy in the U.S. remain far higher than in most developed countries, and among women younger than 30 who experience a pregnancy, more than half report their pregnancy was unintended.

What’s more, stark disparities remain across the country and among young women of color and young women living in poverty. Despite significant declines, the teen birth rate is roughly twice as high among Latina teens (32 births per 1,000) and African American teens (29 births per 1,000) as compared with non-Hispanic white teens (14 births per 1,000).

Among all women who experience a pregnancy, the share who say it was unintended ranges from a low of 30 percent to a high of 60 percent across the socioeconomic spectrum and a low of 36 percent to a high of 62 percent across the states.

Note: The data here represent the most recently available from a variety of sources. The most recent year available will vary by indicator.