A Comparison of Childbirth Costs for Adolescents and Adults From 2001 to 2010

Smadar Ronen, Jinhyung Lee, Parin Patel, Pooja Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose Although teenage birth rates in America have fallen to a historic low of 26.2 births per 1,000 teenagers, the U.S. remains behind the rest of the industrialized world. Adolescent pregnancy is relatively well discussed in today's literature, with ever more detailed estimates constantly emerging to quantify the cost of children born to America's teenagers. This study, however, describes the financial cost of childbirth in the U.S. with a specific focus on understanding the impact of adolescent childbirth in comparison to that of adult women and of annual childbirth as a whole. Methods This retrospective cohort study used data from the 2001–2010 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project-Nationwide Inpatient Sample (HCUP-NIS), a uniform, multistate database containing information regarding approximately 8 million hospital inpatient stays per year of data. Data were analyzed involving payment type, length of stay, and aggregate cost of all childbirths to adolescent girls (under 18 years of age) and to adult women. Results This study found that Medicaid pays for the majority (70%) of births to adolescent girls, whereas private insurance pays for the majority (53%) of births to adult women. This was in contrast to the Medicaid coverage of 41% of all childbirths within the study time frame. Furthermore, the aggregate cost of childbirths to adolescent girls paid for by Medicaid was $670 million. Conclusions Beyond their social impact, births to adolescent mothers place a financial burden on the national economy. Stronger efforts must be made to decrease adolescent childbirth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-62
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Pregnancy
  • Teen pregnancy
  • United States of America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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