Teen Birth Rate Drops Lower
Special Report - April 4, 2011
The birth rate for teenage girls ages 15 to 19 has reached the lowest level ever recorded for this age group, according to the latest report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The findings are part of a March 2011 report on birth and fertility rates entitled, “Recent Decline in Births in the United States, 2007-2009.” According to the report, the teen birth rate (i.e., “the number of births to women aged 15 to 19 per 1,000 women in this age group”) dropped eight percent between 2007 and 2009 to reach the “lowest rate ever recorded for this age group.” More specifically, the teen birth rate dropped from 42.5 in 2007 to 39.1 in 2009, which is 37 percent below the 1991 rate (61.8), when the teen birth rate peaked.
A data brief released in February 2011 by the NCHS contains more detailed information about the decline in the teen birth rate between 2007 and 2009, including state-specific information. The data brief notes that the birth rate for teens ages 15 to 17 declined in 31 states between 2007 and 2009, “increasing significantly” in only one state, West Virginia. In North Carolina, the birth rate among 15 to 17 year-old girls declined 11.5 percent during this time period. Among older teens, ages 18 to 19, the birth rate dropped 13.6 percent between 2007 and 2009 in North Carolina, which was one of 45 states to experience a decline in the birth rate among older teens.
“The U.S. teenage birth rate reached a historic low in 2009, at 39.1 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19,” the NCHS data brief explains. “Rates in the United States fell from 2007 through 2009 by age subgroup, race and Hispanic origin, and state. The recent trend marks a resumption of the long-term decline in teenage childbearing that started in 1991.”
The decline in the teen birth rate is part of an overall decline in births among all women under age 40 that are highlighted in the March 2011 report from the NCSH. The report shows that nationally, birth rates dropped nine percent for women ages 20 to 24, six percent for women ages 25 to 29, and two percent each for women ages 30 to 34 and 35 to 39. Birth rates increased during this time period for women age 40 and over, according to the report, rising six percent for women ages 40 to 44.
The report also highlights a rapid decline in the fertility rate in the U.S., which fell four percent between 2007 and 2009. In North Carolina, which is one of 13 states to experience a decline in fertility rates of between five and nine percent, the fertility rate declined by five percent during this time period.
“The continuing decline in the teen birth rate, which began in the early 1990s, is testimony to the power and continued importance of abstinence-until-marriage education,” said Alysse ElHage, associate director of research for the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “Interestingly, a recent CDC report on teen sexual behavior revealed that more teens are practicing sexual abstinence than in previous years. Both the CDC report and the latest data from the NCSH reinforce the fact that teaching young people the importance of postponing sexual activity until marriage, and giving them the tools to help them do so continues to be the best sex education message we can give them.”
Abstinence Increasing Among Teens - March 8, 2011
Abortions Down in NC, Steady Nationwide - January 18, 2011
NC Teen Pregnancy Rates Hit a New Low - October 19, 2010
Panel Recommends Contraceptive Drug - June 23, 2010
Teen Birth Rate Moves Downward - April 13, 2010
Young Americans Object To Abortion - January 29, 2010
NC Abortion Profile Updated - November 3, 2009
Sixth Circuit Addresses RU-486 - August 24, 2009
Planned Parenthood Abortions Outweigh Adoptions - April 23, 2009
Abortion Decreasing, Especially Among Teens - September 26, 2008
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