Birth Rate among Teens Drops to Historic Low

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by Evan Seymour of Moi Naturale

Fewer teens are deciding to become moms. A report released by the CDC on Thursday details the substantial decreases in births among adolescents.

The record-low teen birth rates present a nationwide trend. Declines were most prevalent in the Mountain States and among Hispanics, according to the CDC report.

Birth rates among Black teens dropped by an average of 24 percent, and the birth rate for Hispanic teens, which had been the highest of any racial or ethnic group, declined 34 percent over the course of the five-year study.

In 22 states, the Hispanic teen birth rate plunged at least 40 percent, a fact the study’s lead author, Brady Hamilton, described as “just amazing”.

Experts cannot say exactly what is behind the decline, but believe the explanation is probably multi-faceted and varies from state to state.

Here’s a piece of what the Asst. Sec. for Health Dr. Howard Koh had to say about the findings in an editorial for today’s Huffington Post:

“To what can we attribute this dramatic drop in teen births? There are a number of key factors, including stronger teen pregnancy prevention education, the choice by many teens to delay sex, and higher rates of contraceptive use by teens who are sexually active.”

The report, which was released last Thursday, is based upon birth certificates from 2007 through 2011. The CDC announced the overall improvement in teen birth rates last year – a record low of 31 births per 1,000 teens between the ages of 15 and 19. This presents a significant decrease from the previous year when there were 42 births per 1,000 female adolescents in the same age group.

The report focuses on 2011 state figures:

White teens continue to have the lowest birth rate nationally – about 22 births per 1,000.

Black teens saw a larger improvement than white teens, but their rate was twice the white rate at 47 per 1,000

Highest rates overall continue to be in the South, led by Arkansas and Mississippi, each with rates of about 50 per 1,000. In Arkansas, the majority of teen births are to white moms. In Mississippi, the majority are black.

Lowest rates are in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, each with rates under 17 per 1,000

The decreasing trend of teen births is reflective of the overall decline in these numbers. Experts have attributed these declining numbers as a resultant of the weak economy, which they argue has served as a deterrent to have children in females of all age groups.

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Click here if you’d like to see the entire CDC report.

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