Children born to teenage girls are costing society billions of dollars in lost tax revenue and healthcare and prison costs, a new report says.
In 2004, American taxpayers covered about $9.1 billion in costs associated with teen moms and their children, while North Carolina taxpayers alone paid about $312 million.
The study, “By the Numbers: The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing,” was published by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and analyzed only public costs, not the costs incurred by teen parents.
The bulk of those costs to taxpayers are for the negative consequences of teen childbearing, including $2.3 billion for child-welfare services, $1.92 billion in health care and $2.07 billion to cover incarceration of the sons of teen mothers.
Lost income and sales taxes those children account for anther $2.9 billion.
The vast majority of the costs paid by taxpayers, about $8.6 billion, are incurred by the children of teens ages 17 and younger, the study says.
In North Carolina, the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coalition of North Carolina recommends increasing the $2.5 million the state currently spends on prevention, increasing the number of parenting programs and working to continue the declines in the state’s teen pregnancy rate.