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US Teen Birth Rate Drops to Record Low: Report

The rate of US teenagers giving birth has sunk to a record low, with a dramatic drop among African American girls, according to a government report out this week .

After rising in the late 1980s, the birth rate among girls between 15-17 years old dropped steadily in the following 15 years, reaching a record low of 21 per 1,000 young women in 2005 compared to 39 in 1991, the report said.

The birth rate among black teenagers dropped by 60 percent, from 83.5 per 1,000 in 1991 to 35 in 2005, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics.

Hispanic teens have now surpassed African Americans for the highest birth rate at 48 per 1,000 following a 30 percent drop between 1991-2005, said the report titled "America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being."

For other ethnic groups, the birth rate was eight per 1,000 among Asians, 12 per 1,000 among whites and 31 per 1,000 among Native Americans.

The rate of pregnancies among US teenagers, counting births, abortions and miscarriages, dropped by 40 percent between 1990-2002 to a record low of 44 per 1,000.

In a study of sexual activity, the report said 46 percent of high school girls reported having had sexual intercourse in 2005, a slight reduction from 50 percent in 1991.

The report found an increase in the use of condoms among sexually active girls, with 56 percent saying they used the contraceptive in 2005 compared to 38 percent in 1991.

The use of birth control pills dropped, however, from 25 to 20 percent between 1991-2005.


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