Teen Birth Rate Moves Downward
Special Report - April 13, 2010
After increasing for two years in a row, the teen birth rate declined by two percent in 2008, according to preliminary data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The report, “Births: Preliminary Data for 2008,” which was released April 6 by the NCHS, shows that the teen birth rate for girls ages 15 to 19 declined two percent between 2007 and 2008dropping from 42.5 births per 1,000 teen girls in 2007 to 41.5 births in 2008. The birth rate for older teens ages 18 to 19 also fell by four percent in 2008. Among Hispanic teenagers, the teen birth rate dropped to 77.4 births per 1,000, which the NCHS says is the “lowest rate ever reported for this group.”
According to the NCHS, the decline in the teen birth rate “reverses two consecutive years of increase that interrupted the 34 percent decline in teenage childbearing from 1991 to 2005.” As we previously reported, the birth rate for 15 to 19 year-olds increased nationwide by five percent between 2005 and 2007, after declining steadily for 14 years. Advocates of condom-based sex education used the increase in the teen birth rate to attack abstinence until marriage programs.
“Today’s news shows that teens are able to make good decisions, even in the midst of a sex saturated culture. We must assure that they continue to receive tools for achieving the best,” said Valerie Huber, executive director of the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA).
On a more troubling note, the NCHS reports that while the birth rate for unmarried women decreased by almost two percent in 2008, both the total number of births and the percentage of births to adult unmarried women increased to historical levels nationwide. According to the NCHS, the total number of births to unmarried women increased by about one percent between 2007 and 2008. This represents a 27 percent increase in the total number of births to unmarried women since 2002. The proportion of all births to unmarried women increased as well, from 39.7 percent in 2007 to 40.6 percent in 2008. In 2008, the NCHS reports that 61 percent of all births to women aged 20 to 24, and one in three births to women ages 25 to 29 occurred outside of marriage.
According to the latest data from the State Center for Health Statistics (SCHS), there were an average of 151 births to unmarried women, and 41 births to older teens (ages 15 to 19) every day in North Carolina in 2008. The annual report, “A Typical Day in North Carolina,” shows that there were a total of 54,952 births to unmarried women in North Carolina in 2008 (up from 53,848 in 2007), for an average of 151 births per day. Births to teens 15 to 19 years old in 2008 in North Carolina totaled 15,128, which is an average of 41 teen births per day. This is about the same as births to teens in this age group in 2007 (15,061 total).
Copyright © 2010. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.