Despite a decline in recent years, the teen birth rate in the United States remains higher than in most other developed countries. In Arkansas, the teen birth rate was the highest in the nation in 2014 at 39.5 births per 1,000 teen girls. Teen pregnancy and childbearing are linked to many negative consequences for the mother and child, including lack of educational attainment, poverty, and poor health. For example, only 40 percent of teen mothers finish high school, and of those who do, only 2 percent finish college by age 30. The consequences of teen pregnancy also have an adverse effect on the state’s economy in the form of lost tax revenue, reduced workforce productivity, and the cost of providing public assistance. In addition, children born to teen mothers are more likely to be at risk for low birth weight and infant mortality, suffer from less cognitive stimulation, and are less prepared for kindergarten. Consequently, these children are more likely to have lower school achievement and are more likely to drop out of high school; have behavioral problems and chronic medical conditions; give birth as a teen; and become unemployed and therefore be reliant upon public support.
This fact sheet provides a picture of teen pregnancy, repeat teen pregnancy, and the economic impact of teen pregnancy in Arkansas.