In a major development, the rate of teenage pregnancy in the United States has witnessed a historic low. According to a government report, the rate of teenage girls becoming mothers has dropped by more than half in the last two decades.
Teen births have continued to drop, reaching a historic low in 2012 and hitting half of what they were in 1991, says the government report.
The US government has taken significant steps to lower the rate of teenage pregnancies. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gave USD 155 million in teenage pregnancy prevention grants to states, school districts and non-profit organizations. The experts belief use of contraceptives, more awareness and preference for less early sex be the reasons for the significant fall.
Bill Albert, a spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, said, “It was impossible to predict if the drop in teenage mothers will continue, so it is important for parents and policymakers not to mistake progress for absolute victory.”
He further added, “Obviously they are making better decisions, having less sex and using more contraception.”
What the report says:
The rate for girls ages 15-19 dropped to 29.4 births per 1,000 last year from 31.3 per 1,000 in 2011. This was less than half the 61.8 births per 1,000 teenage girls recorded in 1991.
This is the lowest teen birthrate since 1940 when data on teen births started being collected, says lead author Brady Hamilton, a statistician with the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s less than half of what it was in 1991, the recent peak of teen births (61.8 births per 1,000 teen girls), he says.
The numbers have steadily declined over the last two decades, except for a brief spike in 2006 and 2007, he added.
Among racial and ethnic groups, the largest decline since 2007 was reported for Hispanic teenagers, for whom the rate dropped 39 percent to 46.3 births per 1,000 to 2012 from 2007.
Last year, the rate of births for white, Black, Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander teenagers declined from 5 to 7 percent compared to 2011.
•Overall, the number of births in the USA was almost 4 million in 2012, essentially the same as 2011.
•The general fertility rate was 63 births per 1,000 women, ages 15-44, down slightly from 63.2 in 2011.
•The birthrate for women in their early 20s (20-24) declined to a record low of 83.1 births per 1,000 women in 2012, down 3% from 2011. Birthrates for women in their late 30s and early 40s rose slightly.
•The C-section rate remained unchanged in 2012 at 32.8%.
Here’s a breakdown of how birthrates for teens have dropped over time:
•1991: 61.8 births per 1,000 teen girls, ages 15 to 19.
•2007: 41.5 births per 1,000 teens
•2010: 34.2 births per 1,000 teens
•2011: 31.3 births per 1,000 teens
•2012: 29.4 births per 1,000 teens