Percentage of Teen Births Remains Steady in NC
Special Report - March 19, 2009
Preliminary data released yesterday (March 18) by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) shows a slight increase in the teen birth rate nationwide in 2007the second year in a row that births to teens have increased. According to the NCHS report, “Births: Preliminary Data for 2007,” the teen birth rate (number of live births per 1,000 teens ages 1519) in the United States rose about one percent between 2006 and 2007, from 41.9 births per 1,000 teens ages 1519 in 2006 to 42.5 in 2007. Between 2005 and 2007, the NCHS reports that the teen birth rate increased five percent nationally (it increased three percent nationwide and about two percent in North Carolina between 2006 and 2007). The birth rate for younger teens (ages 1014) did not change in 2007.
The slight increase in the teen birth rate that began in 2006 represents a shift from the sharp decline between 1991 and 2005, when the teen birth rate dropped 34 percent nationwide. Teens accounted for 23 percent of all nonmarital births in 2007, with six out of seven births to unmarried teens. The NCHS report notes that “All measures of childbearing by unmarried women increase in the United States to historic levels in 2007,” with the unmarried birth rate for women of all ages up 26 percent since 2002.
In North Carolina, the percentage of births to teen mothers (under age 20) remained the same for 2006 and 2007 at 11.7 percent, according to the NCHS data.
“We must put politics aside and take a serious look at programs that enjoy a 4:1 funding advantage over abstinence programs and purport to show effectiveness in media sound bites but fall very short of that reality in the nagging numbers just released” stated Valerie Huber, Executive Director of the National Abstinence Education Association in a statement. She noted that according to the Guttmacher Institute, about 68 percent of public schools nationwide teach comprehensive sex education, while fewer than one out of four teens receive abstinence-only education. “Now is not the time to discontinue the one approach that removes all risk of teen pregnancyand that is abstinence education. Teens deserve the important skills they receive in these programs and they need them now more than ever,” Huber added.
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