Parenting

Teen Birth Rates Drop

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC) tracks the number of births to women aged 15–19 per 1,000 women in that age bracket as the teen birth rate. The CDC announced an overall improvement in teen births: a record low of 31 births per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19. That compares with 42 births per 1,000 five years earlier.

Declines have been widespread across all states, with the largest drops generally observed in the Southeast, Mountain, and Pacific states. Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah saw rates fall by 30 percent or more. In 22 states, teen Hispanic birth rates plunged at least 40 percent, which was described as "just amazing," by the report's lead author, Brady Hamilton of the CDC.

According to the report - If teen birth rates by age and race and Hispanic origin of mother had remained at their 1991 levels, an estimated 3.6 million more births to teenagers would have occurred from 1992 through 2011. The declines in teen birth rates have been attributed to a number of factors, including strong teen pregnancy prevention messages. The latest data from the National Survey of Family Growth show increased use of contraception at first sex and the use of dual methods of contraception (that is, condoms and hormonal methods) among sexually active female and male teenagers. Recent data from the Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey also show wide variation across states in the extent to which sexually active teenagers are using the most effective methods of contraception

Bill Albert CPO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy says,"Geography, politics, or policy alone simply cannot explain the widespread declines," adding that "Credit goes to teens themselves who are clearly making better decisions about sex, contraception, and their future."

Birth rates for teenagers fell for all race and Hispanic origin groups from 1991 through 2011 with much of the decline from 2007 through 2011.

Figure 1 is a bar chart showing birth rates for U.S. teenagers aged 15-19 by race and Hispanic origin for 1991, 2007, and 2011

Birth rates for teenagers aged 15–19, by race and Hispanic origin: United States, 1991, 2007, and 2011

SOURCE: CDC/NCHS, National Vital Statistics System.

  • The overall teen birth rate dropped by almost one-half, from 61.8 per 1,000 teenagers aged 15–19 to 31.3
  • The rates for non-Hispanic white, Hispanic, and American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN) teenagers fell 50% or more during these two decades, while rates for non-Hispanic black and Asian or Pacific Islander (API) teenagers declined at least 60%.
  • In the recent 2007–2011 period, the largest decline (34%) was reported for Hispanic teenagers.
  • The rate for Hispanic teenagers was 21% higher than the rate for non-Hispanic black teenagers in 2007, but by 2011 the rate for Hispanic teenagers was just 4% higher.

 

Declines in teen birth rates from 2007 through 2011 were generally largest in the Southeast, Mountain and Pacific areas, and in the upper Midwest.

Figure 2 is a map showing the percent change in birth rates for all teenagers aged 15-19 by state from 2007 through 2011

Percent change in birth rates for all teenagers aged 15–19, by state: United States, 2007 and 2011
SOURCE: CDC/NCHS, National Vital Statistics System.

 

Birth rates for non-Hispanic white teenagers fell at least 20% in 30 states from 2007 through 2011.

Figure 3 is a map showing the percent change in birth rates for non-Hispanic white teenagers aged 15-19 by state from 2007 through 2011

Percent change in birth rates for non-Hispanic white teenagers aged 15–19, by state: United States, 2007 and 2011

SOURCE: CDC/NCHS, National Vital Statistics System.

 

The largest declines in birth rates for non-Hispanic black teenagers—30% or more—occurred in eight states from 2007 through 2011.

Figure 4 is a map showing the percent change in birth rates for non-Hispanic black teenagers aged 15-19 by state from 2007 through 2011

Percent change in birth rates for non-Hispanic black teenagers aged 15–19, by state: United States, 2007 and 2011

SOURCE: CDC/NCHS, National Vital Statistics System.

 

Declines in birth rates among Hispanic teenagers were the largest of any group, with rates falling by at least 40% in 22 states and DC.

Figure 5 is a map showing the percent change in birth rates for Hispanic teenagers aged 15-19 by state from 2007 through 2011

Percent change in birth rates for Hispanic teenagers aged 15–19, by state: United States, 2007 and 2011

SOURCE: CDC/NCHS, National Vital Statistics System.

 

Access the full report here


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