Good News! Teen Pregnancy Is at an All-Time Low
Just when Bill O’Reilly was complaining that Beyoncé’s provocative new album, with its songs like “Drunk in Love,” was influencing teens—especially black teens—to have sex and get knocked up, news hits that teen pregnancy is actually at an all-time low and has fallen by 56 percent for African-American teenagers in the past two decades.
According to a study released this week by Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit reproductive health group, from 1990 to 2010 the U.S. pregnancy rate for 15-to-19 year olds fell by 51 percent, with approximately 614,000 occurring in 2010. A drop in pregnancies was seen across racial and ethic groups, though as Time reports, Hispanic and black teens got pregnant at nearly three times the rate of their white peers. In 1990 the white-teen pregnancy rate was 86.6 per 1,000 vs. 223.8 per 1,000 for black teens. In 2010 the rates had fallen to 37.8 per 1,000 for whites and 99.5 per 1,000 for blacks. Among Hispanic teens, the pregnancy rate fell from a high of 169.7 per 1,000 in 1992 to 83.5 per 1,000 in 2010.
And in other good news: Teen abortions were also on the decline, down 66 percent from 1998 to 2010, when there were reported 14.7 abortions per 1,000 women. Meanwhile, teen birthrates fell by 44 percent from 1991 to 2010, with about 34.4 births per 1,000 women.
The reason for the decline? Knowledge of birth control, and access to it—so fewer teens are getting pregnant in the first place, says lead author Kathryn Kost, which is interesting since as the LA Times points out, just last month the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that 83 percent of sexually active women between 15 and 17 didn’t learn about abstinence or birth control in sex education until after they had lost their virginity.
As reported by MSNBC, despite the ongoing declines, Guttmacher researchers found that New Mexico has the nation’s highest teen pregnancy rate with 80 per 1,000 women, followed by Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. New Hampshire had the lowest teen pregnancy rate with 28 pregnancies per 1,000, followed by Vermont, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Maine.
TELL US: Are you surprised by the findings?
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