Teen Birth Rates Declined Again in 2009
Teen birth rates lowest in U.S. history, but remain significantly higher than those in most industrialized nations.
After declining 2% between 2007 and 2008, birth rates for 15- to 19-year-olds decreased again between 2008 and 2009 for all races and for Hispanics. This indicates that the steady decline in teen birth rates from 1991 through 2005 has resumed, after briefly increasing between 2005 and 2007. In 2009, 409,840 live births occurred to mothers aged 15-19 years, a birth rate of 39.1 per 1,000 women in this age group (down from 434,758 births and a birth rate of 41.5 in 2008). The Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and non-Hispanic black teen pregnancy rates are more than twice as high as the non-Hispanic white teen birth rate.(1)
The teen birth rate for 15–19 year olds decreased 6% between 2008 and 2009. Rates decreased for all races, including 4% for non-Hispanic whites, 6% for non-Hispanic blacks, 5% for American Indian/Alaska Natives, 10% for Asian American/Pacific Islanders. The Hispanic teen birth rate decreased almost 10%.(1) During this time period, birth rates declined for all age groups except among women age 40 years and older.(1)
Underlying causes for the decreases are not yet known, and it is unclear whether they will continue. While birth rates for other age groups have also decreased during this time, teen birth rates bear concern due to the potential increase in the socioeconomic burden of teen pregnancy and childbearing. Teen birth rates in the U.S. remain up to nine times higher than in most other developed nations. In general, factors associated with teen pregnancy and childbearing include:
- Being sexually active(2)
- Lack of access to or poor use of contraception(2)
- Living in poverty(3)
- Having parents with low levels of education(3)
- Poor performance in school(3)
- Growing up in a single-parent family(3)
As part of the President's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI), CDC is partnering with the federal Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH) to reduce teenage pregnancy and address racial, ethnic, and geographic disparities in teen pregnancy and birth rates. The ASH Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) is supporting public and private entities to fund medically accurate and age appropriate evidence-based or innovative program models to reduce teen pregnancy. For more information please visit Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Integrating Services, Programs, and Strategies Through Communitywide Initiatives.
- Hamilton BE, Martin JA, Ventura SJ. Births: Preliminary data for 2009. National vital statistics reports; vol 59 no 3. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2010. Table 2.
- Ventura SJ, Abma JC, Mosher WD, Henshaw SK. Estimated pregnancy rates by outcome for the United States, 1990-2004. National vital statistics reports; vol 56 no 15. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2008.
- Singh S, Darroch JE. Adolescent pregnancy and childbearing: levels and trends in developed countries. Family Planning Perspectives 2000;32(1):14–23.
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