I frequently come across people who make sweeping statements. Someone claimed in this blog the other day that in the U.S., most thirteen year old girls are pregnant. And when I asked him how he knew, he said that he had lived there for many years. I began to wonder how he could be so certain that almost all thirteen year old girls in that country were in the family way. I mean, he just couldn’t go to a pregnant girl and ask her, “Hey, are you thirteen?” Or go to thirteen year old girls and ask them, “Hey, are you pregnant?” Then again, this guy may have been living in a place where practically every thirteen year old girl was about to give birth to a child (maybe in the building where he lived). Or maybe he lived in a small town and read in the local newspaper that pregnancy had struck every thirteen year old girl in that town. But did that mean that in every town, hamlet and city in the U.S., most thirteen year old girls were going to be mothers in a matter of a few months? But this guy is adamant. He still maintains that in the U.S. at least, this is so. So I thought of doing a bit of research on the subject, because this chap is so firmly set in his views. As I suspected, the situation isn’t so bad.
In the year 2002 (the last year for which data is available) the population of girls of age fourteen and less than fourteen in the U.S. was two million and nine thousand. Of these, only seventeen thousand three hundred and forty were pregnant. (Source: Guttmacher Institute, 120 Wall Street, New York, NY10005, U.S.A.).
That is slightly less than one percent, and since it includes fourteen year old girls as well, we can safely assume that the percentage of pregnant thirteen year old girls in the United States is less than half percent of the total. Or, to put it in layman’s terms, out of every two hundred thirteen year old girls in the U.S., only one is pregnant.
So now I hope that the fellow who stoutly claimed otherwise will do some research before making such a sweeping statement.