U.S. Teen Birth Rates At All-Time Low

Written by Ponta Abadi

This one’s a real shocker: As more teens use hormonal birth control and condoms, fewer have babies.

A report just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows teen birth rates dropped 25 percent in five years to a record-breaking low in 2011. The CDC has also reported that teens are waiting longer to have sex for the first time and are using contraception more often when they do become sexually active.

All states except two—North Dakota and West Virginia—had a 15 percent or more decrease in teen births between 2007 and 2011.  Are we surprised that North Dakota has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country?

Two groups, African-American and Hispanic-American teens, saw the greatest decrease in teen birth rates. These groups historically have had higher teen birth rates, so the lowered rates are encouraging. At a national average, African-American teens had a 24 percent decrease and Hispanic teens had a 34 percent decrease over the five years.

Since 1991 there has been a 50 percent drop in teen birth rates among white, Hispanic and Native Americans, and a 60 percent drop for African-American and Asian or Pacific Islander girls. The CDC estimates that if these decreased rates had not occurred, 3.6 million children would have been born to teenagers in those two decades.

While sex-ed and birth control certainly make a big impact on teen birth rates, studies have also shown that birth rates sometimes go down during tough economic times. Either way, comprehensive sex education in schools is the best way for teens to understand how properly to protect against STIs and pregnancy. Despite the rates declining, the U.S. still has one of the highest teen birth rates among Western nations, and still too many sexually active young people don’t understand how their own bodies work.

This post was originally published by Ms. Magazine.


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Robert O.
Robert O.2 years ago

Good news!

B Jackson
BJ J.2 years ago

Just last week a young guy told me high school kids having babies was like a contest and upped a girl's status with her peers. Between a contest like that & typical teenage raging hormones, think I'd put birth control in a daughter's Cheerios!

Diane L.
Diane L.2 years ago

Marilyn, your post was, while more amusing than anything, curious to me because we're living in the 21st century. I checked your profile..........that explains it. You are living in a community of 237 people, not exactly the educational capital of the state (yes, I live in Washington) and according to what you've said, you are single but have 2 children. I guess abstinence worked really well for you.

Diane L.
Diane L.2 years ago

Marilyn T., what century are you living in.........do you have a clue? Yeah, abstinence has worked really well so far, hasn't it? Most of us would be of the opinion that ignorance such as you are displaying might be "a sin", but as long as your archaic beliefs are not affecting anyone but you, that's your choice. "Fornication"? Most people today have never even heard of that word.

Ryan Yehling
Ryan Yehling2 years ago

Oh hey what do you know....we give women the right to choose and its effective! Hmm...sounds good to me!

Marilyn Traver
Marilyn Traver2 years ago

Abstinence and self control work best. Read your Bibles -- fornication without marriage is a sin!!!

Genoveva M.
Genoveva M G.2 years ago

Thanks for this article

Nikhil D
Nikhil Dutta2 years ago

This is a good sign for the US

Lori Ann Hone
Lori Hone2 years ago

Hey Republicans: Birth Control and Pro-choice work!!!! REPUBLICANS GET OUT OF OUR BEDROOMS AND UTERUS!!!

Diane L.
Diane L.2 years ago

Hmmm, use of birth control lessens birth rates! Wow, what a shocker this is! Who'da thunk? And this is a bad thing just how? Oh, bad for Mormons, the Tea Party, Roman Catholics and probably staunch G.O.P. conservatives like the Duggar family or whomever wants to boot them out of their reality TV show for living off the public dole simply by reproducing.

Pam W., and everyone else who addressed Jeni W'.s very ignorant and ridiculously archaic P.O.V., I send KUDOS and Green Stars. Maybe she can volunteer time to work with all those kids being spit out in 3rd world countries where birth control is unknown or not an option...........the ones who've been left to die of starvation because their parents can't afford to feed all of them, OR they're left as orphans because their parents were killed in civil wars.........I doubt abortion was even a word their parents ever heard of, much less had access to. The closest thing to abortion was probably a pregnant woman being hacked apart with a machete'.