Teen childbearing in state cost taxpayers more than $177 million in ’08

Teen childbearing in Kentucky cost taxpayers at least $177 million in 2008, according to an updated analysis from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Of these costs, 42 percent were federal costs and 58 percent were state and local costs. For the nation overall, teen childbearing costs taxpayers $10.9 billion.

Most of the public sector costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers, during both their childhood and their young adult years.

Annual taxpayer costs associated with children born to teen mothers include public health care, such as Medicaid, child welfare, and, among those children who have reached adolescence and young adulthood, increased rates of incarceration, and lost tax revenue due to decreased earnings and spending.

Between 1991 and 2008 there have been 145,030 teen births in Kentucky, costing taxpayers a total of $3.8 billion. These public sector costs would have been higher had it not been for the substantial declines in teen childbearing over that same period.

Kentucky has seen a 19 percent decline in the teen birth rate between 1991 and 2008. The impressive strides made in reducing teen childbearing in Kentucky saved taxpayers an estimated $106 million in 2008 alone, compared to what they would have paid if rates had not fallen.

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