Encouraging Trends in New Report
Special Report - October 20, 2011
A newly released report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some encouraging news about the sexual behavior of teenagers, including that an increasing number of teens are choosing abstinence. The report, the 2006-2010 National Growth Survey, “Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing,” indicates a decline of in the number of births among teenage girls and an increase in the number of teens choosing abstinence.
According to the study, the number of live births among teen girls (ages 15-19) has fallen to 39.1 live births per 1,000 females, a historic low for the United States. The decrease is part of a larger decline, in which rates have fallen consistently over the last two decades, from a rate of 53.0 per 1,000 females in 1988. The study also found a decline in the percentage of teenagers aged 15-19 who report having sexual intercourse, with both boys (58.2 percent) and girls (57.4 percent) saying they have never had sexual intercourse. These rates have improved from the 1988 levels of 39.6 percent for boys and 49.9 percent for girls.
That finding confirms the results of another recent CDC study, released in March, which documented trends of more youths postponing their first sexual encounter, as well as an increasing number choosing abstinence altogether. This latest National Growth Survey also found a strong link between a teen’s likelihood to be sexually active and their home environment. The study found that teens, both male and female, were significantly less likely to have had sex if they lived with both parents, especially at age 14. Additionally, both teenagers with mothers who were college graduates, and those with mothers who were age 20 or older when they had their first child, were less likely to report having had sex.
Jere Royall, counsel for the North Carolina Family Policy Council, commented, “These two recent studies from the CDC should provide encouragement for continued emphasis on teaching abstinence until marriage. Despite society’s efforts to portray abstinence until marriage as unrealistic or outdated, these findings show that the message to remain abstinent from sexual activity outside of marriage is being increasingly recognized as the wisest and healthiest choice by our young people.”
Abstinence Increasing Among Teens - March 8, 2011
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