Births to American teenagers have dropped 40 percent in the past decade, hitting an all-time low in 2014,released last week.
But the U.S. teenage-pregnancy rate is still “substantially higher” than in other Western, industrialized nations, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. In 2014, a total of 249,078 babies were born to girls ages 15 to 19, a birthrate of 24.2 per 1,000 teenage girls, the CDC reports. That represents an historic low for U.S. teenagers and a drop of 9 percent from 2013.
Pregnancy rates for Hispanic and black teenagers, which fell 51 percent and 44 percent, respectively, contributed to the overall drop, the CDC found. But nationally, birthrates remain twice as high for teenagers in those groups as they are for white teenagers, the agency said, adding “in some states, birth rates among Hispanic and black teens were more than three times as high as those of whites.”
Public-health advocates credit a variety of factors for the declining teenage-pregnancy rate, including expanded access to contraceptive information outside of schools, more teenagers choosing to delay sexual activity, improved sex education programs in some areas, and access to long-term contraceptives like intrauterine devices.
A version of this article appeared in the May 11, 2016 edition of Education Week as Teenage Pregnancy