Teen mothers often have fewer resources than older parents to provide for a healthy baby and for themselves. Babies born to teen mothers are more likely than other infants to be born at a low birth weight and to experience health problems or developmental delays.
The teen birth rate in Vermont was 22.6 percent lower in 2010 than it was at the beginning of the decade. The Vermont Department of Health also tracks the percentage of first births to women under 20 who have not completed high school, an indicator which can correlate with fewer resources available to the infant as well as impact the future educational prospects of the mother. The percentage for such births has also improved, dropping 34 percent between 2000 to 2010. Nonetheless, the overall teen birth rate currently remains above the 2005 low point, when there were 18 births per 1,000 young women between the ages of 15 and 19 years of age.
In 2006, Vermont—along with the rest of the nation—saw the first rise in the teen birth rate in over a decade. Researchers point to several key factors to explain the change, including a rise in teen sexual activity and a decline in teen contraceptive use as well as diminished employment and educational opportunities during the recession. The teen birth rate has since declined again.