CDC: U.S. Teen Birth Rates Down but Remain High

April 18, 2011

Teen birth rates in the United States have declined over the last two decades, but they remain high, according a Vital Signs report in the April 5 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

TUESDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Teen birth rates in the United States have declined over the last two decades, but they remain high, according a Vital Signs report in the April 5 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In an effort to assess trends in teen births and related factors, the CDC evaluated data on teen birth rates during 1991 to 2009 from the National Vital Statistics System; sexual intercourse and contraceptive use among high school students during 1991 to 2009 from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey; and sex education, parent communication, use of long-acting reversible contraceptives, and receipt of reproductive health services among teens aged 15 to 19 years from the 2006 to 2008 National Survey of Family Growth.

The report revealed that the national teen birth rate fell 37 percent, from 61.8 births per 1,000 females in 1991 to 39.1 births per 1,000 females in 2009. The birth rate for black teens was 59 per 1,000 females, and for Hispanic teens it was 70.1 births per 1,000 females, higher than for white teens (25.6 per 1,000). The percentage of high school students who ever had sexual intercourse decreased from 54 percent in 1991 to 46 percent in 1999, and the percentage of students who had sexual intercourse in the past three months but did not use any method of contraception at last sexual intercourse decreased from 16 to 12 percent. Among teenagers who had ever had sexual intercourse, 20 percent of females and 31 percent of males had not spoken with their parents about saying no to sex or about methods of birth control.

"Teen childbearing is associated with adverse consequences for mothers and their children and imposes high public sector costs. Prevention of teen pregnancy requires evidence-based sex education, support for parents in talking with their children about pregnancy prevention and other aspects of sexual and reproductive health, and ready access to effective and affordable contraception for teens who are sexually active," the authors write.

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