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U.S. Teen Births Hit Record Low
Date:4/10/2012

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- The number of American teens giving birth has dropped to an all-time low, federal health officials reported Tuesday.

"There has been a phenomenal drop in the last two years," said report lead author Brady Hamilton, a statistician with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Vital Statistics. "It went down 9 percent between 2009 and 2010 and that's big."

Hamilton said the teen birth trend is a part of a larger trend with the U.S. birth rate. The birth rate for all but older women has been dropping for some time, he said.

The current teen birth rate now stands at about 34 births per 1,000 women ages 15 through 19. That's a 44 percent drop in the rate since 1991, according to the report.

In 2010, teen birth rates by age and race and Hispanic origin were also lower than ever before, the CDC said.

Fewer babies were born to teens in 2010 than in any year since 1946. If the drop in teen births hadn't occurred, there would have been an estimated 3.4 million more births to teens from 1992 to 2010, the report said.

Despite these declines, the U.S. teen birth rate is still among the highest among industrialized countries, according to the report.

In looking to explain the dramatic drop in teen births in the last two decades, Hamilton said there's evidence that messages about sexual practices and the use of contraceptives have been successful.

"This is good news because it allows girls to have the opportunity to devote time toward education and preparing for adulthood," he said.

Teen birth rates fell in all but three states during the three years from 2007 to 2010 -- Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia. The birth rates may vary by state due, in part, to differences in populations by race, the researchers said.

Mississippi had the highest rate of teen births, at 55 per every 1,
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