National Partnership for Women & Families

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Teen Birth Rate Reaches Record Low, CDC Reports

Teen Birth Rate Reaches Record Low, CDC Reports

February 12, 2013 — The birth rate for U.S. women ages 15 through 19 fell by 8% to reach "historic lows" in 2011, according to a report by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, the Los Angeles Times' "Booster Shots" reports. There were about 31.3 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 24, NCHS said.

The study, published on Monday in Pediatrics, examined vital statistics from birth certificates and death records in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Since 1991 -- when teen birth rates peaked -- the rate has fallen by 49%, according to the study (Brown, "Booster Shots," Los Angeles Times, 2/11).

Reasons for Decline

Brady Hamilton, lead author of the study and a CDC statistician, said the decline in the teen birth rate reflects the impact of policies and programs aimed at 15- to 19-year-olds.

Krishna Upadhya, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine who was not involved in the study, attributed the lower teen birth rate to the increased use of contraception and the use of more effective contraceptive methods among the age group.

However, Upadhya noted that teens in some parts of the country have limited access to condoms or long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as intrauterine devices (Pittman, Reuters, 2/11).