What are we working toward?
For nearly three decades, we have worked toward the general goals of helping young people be safe, healthy, and responsible and stay that way for the rest of their lives.
In 2012, we started working toward a more specific state goal:
To reduce teen pregnancy 30% by 2020.
Where are we going?
North Carolina has made tremendous progress in helping young people stay healthy. The 53% decline in our state’s teen pregnancy rate over the past 20 years is strong evidence of that. However, North Carolina still lags behind the rest of the nation.
Rather than resting on past success, North Carolina has the opportunity to redouble efforts to push the teen pregnancy rate even lower. This can be accomplished — even in the face of economic uncertainty — by building on current policies, leveraging current investments, and incorporating science-based practices.
Continuing to reduce teen pregnancy rates will boost North Carolina’s wellbeing and competitiveness by improving dropout rates, increasing families’ self-sufficiency, and reducing preventable costs to taxpayers.
A Shared Goal
In 2011, the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina convened a workgroup of public health experts to ask one question: How far can North Carolina go? The group reviewed past trends, available resources, and the current realities of North Carolina’s economy and communities to develop a shared goal to reduce teen pregnancy.
Based on the analysis, the group agreed on a state goal:
North Carolina will reduce teen pregnancy by 30% by 2020.
If we meet our goal...
Reducing our teen pregnancy rate by 30% means our teen pregnancy rate will drop from 49.7 to 34.8. This translates into:
- Nearly 5,000 fewer teen pregnancies each year
- Fewer than 9,000 babies born to teen parents each year
- A ten-year cumulative savings of nearly $500 million to taxpayers
These are the short-term benefits. The bigger impact is in the long-term. Teen pregnancy has an impact that lasts for generations. Children of teen parents are more likely to struggle in school, be incarcerated, and become teen parents themselves.
Moreover, the skills it takes to not get pregnant or cause a pregnancy are life skills! The reduction in pregnancies is really the impact of more people who know how to be safe, healthy, and responsible.