US Teen Birth Rate Hits All-Time Low

US Teen Birth Rate Hits All-Time Low

A new report about 2016 birth data in the U.S. by the Center for Disease Control's National Center for Health Statistics has found that the U.S. teen birth rate (ages 15-19) is down 9 percent from 2015, a record low for this age group.

“I am ecstatic to see the continued declines in teen birth to an all-time low in 2016. We know that the majority of teen births are unintended in the United States, so declines in teen birth are good for teens, their families, and children," says Elise Berlan, M.D., M.P.H., at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

The June report, Births: Provisional Data for 2016, also found:

  • The teen birth rate has declined by 51 percent since 2007 and 67 percent since 1991.
  • The number of births to women aged 15-19 declined 53 percent from 2007.
  • The birth rates for teens aged 15-17 and 18-19 were down by 11 percent and 8 percent respectively from 2015.
  • The birth rate for females aged 10-14 was unchanged from 2015. 

"Access to contraceptives has been the primary driver of these recent trends," Dr. Berlan says. "As we consider changes in health insurance coverage, we need to make sure that teens continue to have access to health insurance so they are able to access birth control."

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Another report released last week by the CDC's NCHS about teen sexual activity, Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use Among Teenagers in the United States, 2011–2015, found the probability of male and female teenagers having sex by age 18 to be 55 percent. The report also found that almost all sexually experienced female teens had used some form of contraception (99.4 percent). Some of the most common reasons given for not yet having sex was not wanting to get pregnant (19.3 percent) or get someone pregnant (21.2 percent), as well as "against religion or morals" and "haven't found the right person yet."


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