Teenage Pregnancy Rates Decline

The teenage birthrate reached a 40 year low in 2008, according to a study, entitled “U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2008: National Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity.” Teen pregnancy has declined by a rate of 42 percent since it peaked in 1990, according to a Guttmacher Institute study conducted by Kathryn Kost and Stanley Henshaw.

The study states that in 2008, the last year for which statistics are available, the teenage birthrate was 40.2 births per 1,000 women, compared to the 1991 rate of 61.8 per 1,000. Likewise, the teenage abortion rate in 2008 was 17.8 abortions per 1,000 women, the lowest rate since the legalization of abortion in 1972. According to a study by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2011, the birth rate for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 decreased by 8 percent between the years of 2007 and 2009.

Although the number of pregnancies, births, and abortions has decreased among all teenagers, there is still a large gap in the pregnancy rates among Hispanics, African Americans, and non-Hispanic whites. The African American and Hispanic teenage pregnancy rate is still two to three times higher than the rate of non-Hispanic white teenagers.

Kost, co-author of the study attributes the drop in pregnancy rate to increased and more effective use of contraception by teenagers. She stated, “the recent declines in teen pregnancy rates are great news. However, the continued inequities among racial and ethnic minorities are cause for concern.”

Huffington Post 2/9/12; Reuters 2/8/12; Guttmacher Institute 2/8/12; Feminist Newswire 2/8/11

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