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Home News Teen Childbearing in NM Costs Taxpayers $103 Million Annually
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

Teen Childbearing in NM Costs Taxpayers $103 Million Annually

May 22, 2014 - Family Planning - Awareness

Pregnant woman with hand on stomach standing in front of a graph.

Teen childbearing in New Mexico cost taxpayers at least $103 million in 2010, according to an updated analysis from The Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy; for the nation overall, teen childbearing cost taxpayers $9.4 billion.

The New Mexico Department of Health this National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month is continuing its work to reduce the number of teen pregnancies in the state.

Since 2000, the teen birth rate in New Mexico for 15-to-17 year olds has declined by 43 percent. That’s comparable to the national decline of 48 percent.

Our mission is to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families and, in particular, to help ensure that children are born into stable, two-parent families who are committed to and ready for the demanding task of raising the next generation.

Most of the public sector costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences often experienced by the children of teen mothers, during both their childhood and their adolescent years. This includes costs associated with public health care (Medicaid and CHIP), increased participation in 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 2010 there were 93,760 teen births in New Mexico, costing taxpayers a total of $2.5 billion over that period. These public sector costs would have been higher had it not been for the substantial declines in teen childbearing.

Nationally and in New Mexico, birth rates for New Mexico Hispanic and American Indian teens are higher than for other groups. Factors influencing New Mexico’s high teen birth rate are a diverse population, poverty rates, rural population, high school dropout rates, and access to services.

The Department of Health works to lower those rates on multiple fronts. Prevention programs include:

The BrdsNBz Text Message Warm Line provides confidential, factually accurate answers to sexual health questions via text message. A young person simply texts a question, and a trained health educator responds within 24 hours.
  • The BrdsNBz, a text messaging service in which teens can text “NMTeen” and parents can text “NMParent” to 66746 to opt-in to the service. From there, they can text their sexual health questions to 66746 and get medically accurate answers within 24 hours. New Mexico in 2013 became the second state in the country to offer this service statewide.
  • The Teen Outreach Program (TOP), which reaches teens in grades 6 through 12 has been proven successful in preventing teen pregnancy and increasing academic success by increasing life skills on a number of different topics, including healthy relationships, communication, values clarification, examining influences, goal setting, decision making, sexual health, and community service learning.
  • ¡Cuídate! is a Hispanic culturally-based program reducing HIV risk among teens ages 13 to 18. ¡Cuídate! means “take care of yourself” in Spanish and emphasizes risk reduction strategies such as sexual abstinence and correct condom use through interactive activities;
  • Raíces y Alas (Roots and Wings in Spanish) is an education workshop which works with the most important educator of sexual health for teens – their parents. The skill building program helps parents learn how to have more conversations with their teens about sex and sexual health and make those conversations positive.

For more information please visit the Family Planning section of our website.

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.