Bloomberg Businessweek (05.23.2013)
Although the US teen birth rate still is high in comparison to other Western countries, CDC reported that the teen birth rate declined 25 percent from 2007 to 2011, due to the success of pregnancy prevention measures and teenagers’ concerns about contracting HIV and STDs. All states except North Dakota and West Virginia reported declines of at least 15 percent, and the number of teen mothers declined 30 percent or more in seven states. Since 1991, the US teen birth rate has dropped close to 50 percent. In comparison to earlier surveys, more teen girls used contraception and fewer teens had vaginal sex in 2011. In addition, the percentage of girls ages 15–19 who reported being virgins increased from 49 percent in 1995 to 57 percent in 2010.
According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy Chief Project Officer Bill Albert, more US teens are delaying sex and those who have sex are using contraception more reliably. Teens’ preferred forms of contraception include birth control pills and condoms, often used in conjunction. CDC reported approximately 31 births per 1,000 teenagers in 2011, compared to 41.5 per 1,000 in 2007. Teen births result in increased risk of premature, low-birth-weight babies, who have a higher risk of dying during infancy, and increased public cost of teenage mothers giving birth.
Hispanics showed the steepest decline in teen births from 2007 to 2011. Since 1991, the teen birth rate for Hispanics and Native Americans went down 50 percent, and the rate dropped for black and Asian/Pacific Islander girls by at least 60 percent. Without the steep decline, the US population would have grown by an additional 3.6 million children born to teenagers.
The full report, “Declines in State Teen Birth Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin” was published online at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db123.pdf.