In Oklahoma in 2008, taxpayer costs associated with children born to teen mothers included but were not limited to:
It’s easy to think that teen pregnancy doesn’t affect you, especially if you don’t have children. But consider the hidden expenses of Oklahoma’s high teen pregnancy rate. Teen pregnancy costs taxpayers in Oklahoma $169 million every year. The majority of these costs are associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers.
Because many teen mothers live in poverty, care for both mother and child can be publicly funded for years, including assistance programs for food, medical care and childcare. In addition, daughters of teen mothers are more likely to become teen mothers themselves, creating cyclical poverty over generations.
Had it not been for significant declines in the teen birth rate in recent years, the costs to taxpayers would have been even higher. The teen birth rate in Oklahoma declined 15% percent between 1991 and 2008. The progress Oklahoma has made in reducing teen childbearing saved taxpayers an estimated $55 million in 2008 alone.
*Based on 936 births. Prepared by The Campaign, July 2013; Sources: Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Vital Statistics, 2011 Preliminary Birth Data and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy Cost Calculator.