TEEN SOUL POWER
Teen Birth Rates Continue to Fall
There is good news across the nation.
The teen birth rate in the U.S. continues to drop and is at a record low.
Data from the National Vital Statistics System
According to data from the National Vital Statistics Center:
The birth rate for teenagers aged 15–19 has fallen almost continuously since 1991, reaching historic lows for the nation every year since 2009. Despite declines in all racial and ethnic groups, teen birth rates do continue to vary by race and ethnicity. Moreover, the U.S. teen birth rate remains higher than in other industrialized countries, and in the U.S. as elsewhere, childbearing by teenagers continues to be a matter of public concern.
In fact, the 2015 teen birth rate fell to another historic low in the U.S., and teen birth rates declined to historic lows for each race and Hispanic-origin group in 2015.
Birth rates for non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and
Hispanic females aged 18–19 declined from 2014 to 2015, down 7%
(to 30.6 births per 1,000 females aged 18–19), 8% (to 56.7), and
6% (to 61.9), respectively.
The peak for teen births was during the Baby Boom period around 1957, when 96.3 births were recorded for every 1,000 women, having dramatically risen after the end of World War II. But note that the lifestyle of teen mothers today is different. In the 1960s, most teen mothers were married – and only about 15% of births were to unmarried teen mothers, whereas today, 89% of births are to unmarried teen mothers - virtually a total reversal of parental characteristics.
The teen birth rate has been on a steep decline since the early 1990s, and that trend accelerated due to several reasons. Experts believe that one primary reason for the decline is that, most importantly, there has been a significant decline in the percentage of never-married teenage females who report that they have ever had sex (from 51% in 1988 to 44% in 2011-13.) There seems to be a growing recognition among both males and females to delay the onset of sex until marriage - or at a later date or stage of relationship development. This maturing of sexual attitudes and behaviors has positive results in the overall choices and results youth make and experience for their futures.
Other reasons for the decline in teen births include the economic recession and understanding of economic realities of child rearing; the more consistent use of contraceptives; the development of more effective contraceptives; better teaching of sexual education; better parenting and parent-child communication; and more and better family planning messages and pregnancy prevention programs.
It should be noted that these birth rate figures do include only the live births and do not include either stillbirths, miscarriages, or abortions (which are also on the decline by some 50%.)
TEEN PREGNANCY RATES:
The national teen pregnancy rate has also declined almost continuously over the last two decades. The teen pregnancy rate includes pregnancies that end in a live birth, as well as those that end in abortion or miscarriage (fetal loss). Between 1990 and 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available), the teen pregnancy rate declined by 51 percent—from 116.9 in 1990 to 57.4 pregnancies per 1,000 teen girls in 2010. Again, according to national data, this decline is due to the combination of an increased percentage of adolescents who are waiting to have sexual intercourse (delaying) and the increased use of contraceptives by teens.
While there is great governmental emphasis on family planning and the choice to have children, this article in no way should imply that it is wrong to have children, either as teenagers or in the number of children one has. Once conceived, each child is special and is a great gift. As such, as parents please always remember to treat our children as bundles of love - and the joy they give will forever gladden our hearts and lives.