Pregnancy Among Three National Samples of Runaway and Homeless Youth
Purpose: To compare estimates of the prevalence of pregnancy among runaway and homeless youth between the ages of 14 and 17 years in various settings with each other and with youth in the general population.
Methods: Comparisons used three surveys of youth: (a) the first nationally representative survey of runaway and homeless youth residing in federally and nonfederally funded shelters, (b) a multicity survey of street youth, and (c) a nationally representative household survey of youth with and without recent runaway and homeless experiences.
Results: Youth living on the streets had the highest lifetime rates of pregnancy (48%), followed by youth residing in shelters (33%) and household youth (<10%).
Conclusions: Shelter and street youth were at much greater risk of having ever been pregnant than were youth in households, regardless of whether they had recent runaway or homeless experiences. Such youth need comprehensive services, including pregnancy prevention, family planning, and prenatal and parenting services. (Authors)
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