Taxpayers spend millions of dollars for teen births - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Taxpayers spend millions of dollars for teen births

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Teen births in Iowa are down, but still costing state taxpayers millions of dollars. At least 85-million, in fact, according to recent data from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

74,210 teens gave birth in Iowa between 1991 and 2010. That cost taxpayers a total of two-point-two billion dollars. Birth rates in Iowa, however, are at an all time low now. 

The group "Together for Youth" in Waterloo started in the early 90's. It's a coalition of programs helping young people take charge of their future. Through the program health educators go in and out of schools, youth serving agencies, and faith communities educating teens and even middle school age students.

People with the program say research shows if teens can postpone having a baby until their 20's, they and their children have better social, economic, and health outcomes.

"The results really speak for themselves. Back in the mid 90's our teen birth rates were 17.5% of all births. That's almost one in five births in Black Hawk County went to teens. Now they're 6.2," said Joni Spencer, 'Together for Youth' coordinator.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy also says more tax payer money is spent since teens rely on public health care, have a higher rate of incarceration, and have lower paying jobs. 

Together for Youth: https://www.unitypoint.org/waterloo/together-for-youth.aspx
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: http://thenationalcampaign.org/
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