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South Carolina Declines in Teen Pregnancy and Childbearing Lead to Millions in Public Savings

Monday, February 5, 2018

February 5, 2018, Columbia, SC—More than two decades of investments in prevention programs and services have led to significant declines in unplanned pregnancies and birth rates among teens in South Carolina. New analysis from Power to Decide, the campaign to prevent unplanned pregnancy, shows that these declines resulted in public savings of $85 million in 2015 alone. Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization based in Washington, DC.

Since peaking in 1991, the teen birth rate has declined 67% and the related savings to taxpayers has been significant. The new Power to Decide analysis reflects the public sector savings that directly connect to medical and economic supports provided during pregnancy and infancy for teen mothers specifically through Medicaid and the Women Infant and Children (WIC), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) programs.

Beth De Santis, South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (SC Campaign) CEO, says, “South Carolina’s youth serving providers and other dedicated stakeholders should be proud of their ongoing investment and focus on effective programs throughout the state. While we are impressed with these positive trends, we recognize work must continue by all of us to maintain success. It is also imperative that communities continue to invest in teen pregnancy prevention efforts whether it be federal, state, corporate or individual funds in order to see continued success in South Carolina.  

As the new analysis shows, investing in prevention will not only benefit our state financially but also improve educational achievement and economic development. With 3,696 births to teens in 2016 and a continual increase in STI and HIV rates, we must find solutions when it comes to reaching youth where they need it the most.  It has been and always will be a collective effort that prevents teen pregnancy and we cannot impact this issue or relevant systems without effective collaboration.”

Download the Progress Pays Off fact sheet for more information and visit for county-level savings.