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Hennepin County teen births fall by 65 percent in last decade

Hennepin County teen births fall by 65 percent in last decade Photo: Pixabay/Thomas Widmann/CC BY-SA 2./MGN

Updated: November 12, 2019 09:11 AM

A significantly fewer number of teens are becoming parents in Hennepin County.

According to a news release from Hennepin County, from 2017 to 2018, the teen birth rate fell by 21%. The one-year change among teens ages 15 to 19 contributes to an overall decrease of more than 65%.

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According to county officials, 339 teens gave birth in 2018. In 2007, that number was 1,170, according to Hennepin County.

Many factors may have contributed to the change, but they align with Hennepin County Health's teen pregnancy prevention program, Better Together Hennepin. The program began in 2006.

Teen pregnancy, birth rates in Minnesota at all-time low, U of M report shows

With help from a federal grant, as well as state and county funding, the pregnancy prevention initiative has developed and implemented a range of evidence-based programming options meant to assist teens, including:

  • Care and advocation for teen health and well-being, with knowledge of a range of options, from abstinence to safer sex,
  • Education about their bodies and access to sexual health information,
  • Connection with a caring adult who can answer questions and provide guidance,
  • Planning for, and embarking on, their futures before becoming parents.

The release states that national studies suggest that fewer teens are having sex, and that more of them who are sexually active use contraceptives.

Fewer teens getting pregnant in Minnesota, but sexually transmitted infections increase

"Preventing teen pregnancies is a very high priority for Hennepin County, and our work has been strikingly successful," said Hennepin County Board Member Mike Opat in the release. "We all know that teens are not ready to become parents. This progress is the best kind of prevention work we do in county government."

Since 2010, the Hennepin County program has benefited from about $18 million in federal grant income, augmented by state and local funding, as well as investment from community partners. The program is working under a $1.5 million federal grant from the Office of Population Affairs. The grant expires in June 2020. Beyond that, Better Together Hennepin's funding future is unknown.

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