Fast Facts

In Washington County…

Teen Births and STIs:

Since 2000, Washington County has consistently ranked 5th or higher in the state for teen births. We are also among the highest in the state for teen STIs such as chlamydia.

  • Number of births in 2009 was 171, compared to 238 in 2007.
  • Washington County showed a significant decrease in the teen birth rate for two years in a row: from 58.0 per 1,000 in 2007 to 40.8 in 2009! We are now 5th, rather than 3rd in the state. (State average is 31.2.
  • 2010 teen birth numbers were just released: we dropped for the 3rd year, to 162 births (19 and under). There was a drastic decrease in our target group, ages 15-17: from 50 in 2009 to 35 in 2010. Number of births to girls under 15 stayed the same (2), but there was a slight increase in births to 18-19 year olds, from 119 to 125.
  • 1,020 Washington County youth ages 10 to 19 were reported as having a sexually transmitted infection between 2001 and 2005.
  • We are among the highest in the state for our teen STI rates. 156 teens were diagnosed with chlamydia in Washington County in 2010; 38 with gonorrhea.

Substance Abuse:

According to the 2007 Maryland Adolescent Survey, in Washington County:

  • 47% of 12th graders self-reported that they have used alcohol in the last 30 days (MD average = 42.2); 31.3 report drinking 5 or more servings on the same occasion (MD average =28.6).
  • 20.6% of 12th graders reported using marijuana in the last 30 days (MD average = 20.7);
  • 25.6% of 12th graders had used cigarettes in the last 30 days (MD average = 16.3);
  • Generally, rates for teen substance use are lower than MD average for 6th graders, around the same for 8th graders, and higher for 10th and 12th.

We want you to know:

  • Most parents of sexually experienced teens are unaware that their teenage children have had sex.
  • Locally, the average age at first sexual experience reported by surveyed teens was 15.
  • Nationally, one in three females becomes pregnant at least once by age 20.
  • Locally, teens reported that parents have the most influence on their sexual decisions, closely followed by friends and thirdly partners.
  • Nationally, 37% of teens say they haven’t had a single conversation about sex with their parents.
  • Nationally, 87% of teens say it would be easier for them to postpone sexual activity and avoid teen pregnancy if they were able to have more open, honest conversations with their parents.
  • Less than 1/3 of teen mothers ever finish high, school leaving them unprepared for the job market and more likely to raise their children in poverty.
  • On a positive note, over half of surveyed high school students in 2005 reported that they have not had sex.

What does this mean for Washington County?

  • The approximate cost of 171 children born to teens in Maryland is $5,339,000. Dropping from 238 to 171 saved taxpayers $2,092,000!*
  • Only 38% of teen mothers get their high school diploma. Less than 2% of mothers who have children before age 18 complete college by the age of 30. This disparity in education obviously affects income level.
  • 2 of 3 families begun by a young unmarried mother are poor.
  • Approximately one-quarter of teen mothers go on welfare within 3 years of the child’s birth.
  • The children of teen mothers are more likely to be born prematurely and at low birthweight and are two times more likely to suffer abuse and neglect compared to children of older mothers.

What you can do:

Parents & Grandparents: Talk to your teens! Our toolkits and monthly newsletters can help. Or check out resources on our website.

Community members: Tell friends and relatives with teens about the Coalition’s work. Consider donating time or resources for our projects.


* includes public sector costs for health care, child welfare, incarceration, and lost revenue due to lower taxes paid by children of teen moms over their own lifetimes.

Sources: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy at, Washington County Health Department, Maryland Vital Statistics, Washington County Maryland -Teen Pregnancy Prevention Needs Assessment 2005, Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2005

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