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.



Freya S.
Freya Sabout a year ago

Wonderful, teen pregnancy is so dangerous to the mother and baby.

Robert O.
Robert O4 years ago

Good news!

B Jackson
BJ J4 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 L4 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 L4 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 Yehling4 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 Traver4 years ago

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

Genoveva M.
Genoveva M M4 years ago

Thanks for this article

Nikhil D
Nikhil Dutta4 years ago

This is a good sign for the US

Lori Ann Hone
Lori Hone4 years ago

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