WEDNESDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. teen birth rates showed notable decreases throughout most states and across all racial and ethnic groups from 2007-09, federal researchers reported Wednesday.
Forty-five states reported significant declines in births to teens 18 to 19 years old from 2007 to 2009. Thirty-one states also reported fewer births to 15-to-17-year-olds in that time period, according to preliminary data analyzed by the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The overall teen birth rate for 2009 -- 39.1 births per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19 -- was the lowest since record-keeping began nearly 70 years ago, the CDC first reported in December. The downward trend has remained steady since the early 1990s except for two years, 2006 and 2007.
Northern New England states and the intermountain West reported the steepest declines in birth among teens 18-19 from 2007 to 2009 -- 27 percent for New Hampshire and Vermont, while New York, Louisiana, and New Mexico saw smaller, but still significant, dips of 5 percent.
Birth rates for younger teens (15-17) dropped the most in the Southeast and the intermountain West, with rates in Arizona going down by 20 percent.
West Virginia was the only state where teen births in that age group rose significantly -- 17 percent -- during those years.
But despite recent notable declines, the United States still leads the developed world in numbers of births to teenagers, which concerns public health officials.
Teen childbearing carries significant risks. Babies born to teenage mothers are more likely to be of low birthweight or preterm than infants born to older women, and they have a higher risk of dying during infancy, the report says.
Additionally, it's estimated that teenage parenting costs the public $9.1 billion a year.
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