Adolescent Sexual Health Report
Pregnancy & Birth

Every day in 2018, approximately 7 adolescents became pregnant and 5 gave birth in Minnesota (1).

Overall, the pregnancy rate among adolescents age 15-19 decreased 13% from 2017 to 2018. The birth rate decreased by 15%. 

The number of pregnancies among adolescents younger than 15 increased 32% and the number of births increased 66.7% from 2017 to 2018. This change is magnified because there are so few adolescents in this age group who become pregnant and/or give birth. 

Even with the increase in 2018, the number of pregnancies and births among adolescents younger than 15 has decreased dramatically since 1990.

National Comparison

From 1991 to 2018, the birth rate among adolescents aged 15-19 in the United States dropped 72%, reaching a record low of 17.4 births per 1,000 (2). The decline in adolescent pregnancy over the past two decades is likely due to a combination of improved contraceptives use and delayed initiation of sexual activity (3). More recent declines have mainly been driven by increased use of highly effective contraceptive methods (IUDs and implants) and dual methods (4,5).

Did you know? 

Despite reaching historic lows in 2018, the United States continues to have among the highest adolescent pregnancy and birth rate among developed nations (6)

Subsequent Births

Subsequent births are births to adolescents who’ve previously given birth (2).

Pregnancy prevention among adolescent parents is a complex issue. Adolescents who experience a subsequent birth are more likely to be younger at first sex and first birth, have lower educational expectations and attainment, have intended their first birth, be living with a partner, and have not been employed or in school after their first birth (7).

In Minnesota, teens with the highest percent of subsequent births are from communities of color (2).

Did you know?

Nationally, 16% of births to adolescents are subsequent births. In Minnesota, 14% of births to adolescents are subsequent births, which is a 12.5% decrease from 2017.

Racial/Ethnic Disparities (2,8,9)

From 2017 to 2018, birth rates decreased among white, Black, American Indian, and Hispanic youth. Birth rates increased slightly among Asian/Pacific Islander adolescents. The birth rate fell most markedly among Black adolescents, with a decline of 23%, followed by white youth, with a decline of 17%. 

Did you know?

Compared to the birth rate for white adolescents: 
• The birth rate for American Indian youth is nearly seven times greater.
• The birth rates for Hispanic youth is four times higher.
• The birth rate for Black youth is three times higher.
• Birth rates for American Indian and Asian/ Pacific Islander youth in Minnesota were much higher than national figures.

* Racial categories are disaggregated as non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic Black.
*The term ‘Black” is used rather than “African American” to be consistent with state and national racial categories and because data includes foreign-born and U.S. born populations.
*The Hispanic category represents Hispanic ethnicity, accounting for persons who identity as Hispanic of any race.

Improving adolescent sexual health outcomes starts 
where we live, learn, work and play.

Pregnancy, birth and STI rates among Minnesota’s adolescents continue to vary across racial and ethnic groups, socioeconomic status and geography. While many programs and services focus on changing individual behaviors that lead to pregnancy, increasing attention is being paid to the social determinants that contribute to poor health outcomes through systematic lack of access to resources, power and opportunity (13). Higher rates of adolescent pregnancy have been linked with concentrated poverty, residential segregation, unemployment, and lack of access to health care and education (14-18). Strategies to eliminate these persistent disparities must address the social determinants of health which disproportionately affect young people in communities of color (19).

Geographic Disparities (8,9)

Although the number of pregnancies and births are larger in the Twin Cities metro, the rates of pregnancies and births are higher in greater Minnesota. Chlamydia is widespread through the state, while gonorrhea is clustered in counties with urban centers and metropolitan areas.

In rural areas, access to confidential, affordable, youth-friendly health care may be limited. There are large geographic disparities in sexual health clinic hours of availability and distance to service. For example, there are 28 sexual health clinics in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties with services available five days per week (10). In contrast, 51% of rural counties in Minnesota have no sexual health clinic location in the county itself (10).

*Rural sexual health clinic access statistics are based on the Minnesota Department of Health directory of Family Planning Special Projects and Title X family planning services. Statistics may not include hospitals and clinics that also provide sexual health services.

Did you know? The 10 counties with the highest teen birth rates are all in greater Minnesota.

*Note: Counties with a rate under 5 are suppressed to ensure privacy, the rate is not zero.

Pregnancy rate: 

(per 1,000 aged 15-19)

Mahnomen: 44.9

Nobles: 44.6

Watonwan: 40.2

Red Lake: 39.7

Renville: 37.9

Beltrami: 32.9

Traverse: 32.6

Mille Lacs: 31.6

Chippewa: 31.2

Todd: 29.9

*Note: Counties with a rate under 5 are suppressed to ensure privacy, the rate is not zero.

Birth rate: 

(per 1,000 aged 15-19)

Nobles: 41.7

Red Lake: 39.7

Mahnomen: 39.3

Renville: 37.9

Traverse: 32.6

Beltrami : 31.8

Chippewa: 31.2

Clearwater: 28.9

Lincoln: 28.4

Cottonwood: 27.7

Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)

The Minnesota Family Investment Program, or MFIP, is the state's welfare reform program for low-income families with children. MFIP helps families move to work (25). 

Note: Dodge, Steele and Waseca counties are no longer reported individually as they administer MFIP benefits collectively as the MN Prairie county Alliance.

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