U.S. teen birth rate hits record low for 7th year in row

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Karen Ka­plan

LOS AN­GE­LES — The birth rate for U.S. teenagers hit an all-time low in 2015, the seventh straight year a new record has been set.

Over­all, there were 22.3 births for every 1,000 fe­males be­tween the ages of 15 and 19, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port re­leased by the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion. That rep­re­sents an 8 per­cent drop in just one year.

The teen birth rate is now 46 per­cent lower than it was in 2007 and 64 per­cent lower than in 1991, re­searchers at the CDC’s Na­tional Cen­ter for Health Sta­tis­tics found.

That means the teen birth rate in the U.S. is com­pa­ra­ble to the rate in the African na­tion of Dji­bouti.

It’s also clos­ing in on those of Al­ba­nia, the Slo­vak Repub­lic and Ser­bia, ac­cord­ing to data from the United Na­tions.

But de­spite the steady progress of Amer­i­can teens, they still lag far be­hind other in­dus­tri­al­ized na­tions.

In Switzer­land, there are only 3 births for every 1,000 fe­males be­tween the ages of 15 and 19.

In the U.S., the group that came clos­est to a fig­ure that low was Asian-Amer­i­cans and Pa­cific Is­lan­ders. For every 1,000 Asian teens, there were 6.9 births.

Be­hind t hem were whites (16 births per 1,000 teens), Na­tive Amer­i­cans (25.7 births per 1,000 teens), African-Amer­i­cans (31.8 births per 1,000 teens) and Lati­nas (34.9 births per 1,000 teens).

The birth rate for each of th­ese groups de­clined over the last year, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

In ad­di­tion, the gap be­tween groups has nar­rowed sub­stan­tially over the last 25 years.

In 1991, the dif­fer­ence be­tween the high­est birth rate (104.6 births per 1,000 Latina teens) and the low­est (27.3 births per 1,000 AsianAmer­i­can teens) was 77 births per 1,000 teens.

By 2015, the cor­re­spond­ing dif­fer­ence was 28 births per 1,000 teens.

The au­thors of the re­port at­trib­uted the across-the­board im­prove­ment to “de­clines in the pro­por­tion of teenagers who have ever had sex and, for sex­u­ally ac­tive teenagers, in­creases in the use of ef­fec­tive con­tra­cep­tion prac­tices,” they wrote.

They also cred­ited “in­creases in teen preg­nancy preven­tion pro­grams.” The teen birth rate in the United States is com­pa­ra­ble to the rate in Dji­bouti.

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