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United States Sees Record Drop in Teen Births From 2007-09
Date:2/2/2011

ly what accounts for the falloff in births is unclear, although the CDC says some reports suggest that teens engaged in less sexual activity in the 1990s and mid-2000s and also increased contraception use.

Some experts have other thoughts.

"That doesn't mean decreases in sexual activity, but just alternate intimacies that teenagers are discovering or rediscovering," said Dr. Lawrence B. Friedman, a professor of pediatrics and director of the division of adolescent medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

"There is also increased use of effective contraception," he said in December when the CDC announced the record-low teen birth rate.

"Previous studies have suggested that these declines reflected the impact of strong teenage pregnancy prevention messages that accompanied a variety of public and private efforts to focus teenagers' attention on the importance of avoiding pregnancy," the report said.

The report authors said additional data expected this year may help pinpoint the specific factors related to the downward trend.

Other highlights of the report:

  • Among teens 18-19, birth rates in 2009 for whites (46.1 per 1,000), blacks (97.5 per 1000), and Asian Pacific teens (25.7) were record lows for these groups. While the birth rate for Hispanic teenagers declined more slowly overall from 1991 through 2009, the decline in the rate from 2008 to 2009 (41.0 per 1000) was the largest of all race and ethnicity groups -- by 11 percent.
  • For younger teens, 15 to 17, the birth rate declined 7 percent in 2009 from 2008, the largest single-year drop since 2000-01. The 6 percent decline reported for older teens, 18 to 19, was the largest single-year decline since 1971-72 and also a historic low for that age group.
  • Among the youngest teens, aged 10 to 14, birth rates fell to 0.5 births per 1,000, the lowest ever reported.

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