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U.S. Teen Birth Rate Hits Record Low
Date:4/5/2011

use any type of birth control.

The report emphasizes the need for sex education as well as talking with parents about pregnancy. In addition, teens who are sexually active need access to contraception that is both affordable and effective, the report's authors say.

In terms of contraception, condoms are recommended for boys, and birth control pills, hormone shots, or an IUD, are the most effective methods for girls, the team said.

According to the report, teen births also vary among racial and ethnic groups.

Hispanics have the lowest use of contraceptives and also the highest teen birth rates. In addition, black and Hispanic teens are about 2.3 times more likely to have a baby than white teens. Among black teen girls, 58 percent said they have had sex, compared to 45 percent of Hispanic girls and 45 percent of white girls, the researchers found.

Among boys, 72 percent of black boys say they have had sex, compared with 53 percent of Hispanic boys and 40 percent of white boys.

Teen pregnancy also has emotional, physical and economic costs, the CDC noted. For example:

  • Half of teen mothers don't graduate high school before 22.
  • Girls of teen mothers are one-third more likely to become teen mothers.
  • Children of teen parents are more apt to drop out of school and become teen parents themselves.
  • Teen moms are more likely to deliver a premature or low birthweight baby.
  • Babies born to teen moms are more likely to die in infancy.

According to the CDC, teen pregnancy and births cost taxpayers about $3 billion each year, some $6 billion in lost taxes, and almost $3 billion in other public costs.

Still, the number of very young parents continues to decline. Not only have teen birth rates been going down, but there have also been declines in the rates of abortions for all age groups including teens, Barfield said.

"We are also seeing declined in the rate of high s
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