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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 12/21/2010

Teen birth rate hits record low

By Rob Stein

Graphic by Pamela Tobey / The Washington Post (click to view larger graphic)

As the nation continued to struggle in the recession in 2009, the rate at which U.S. women are having babies continued to fall, pushing the teen birth rate to a record low, federal officials reported Tuesday.

The birth rate among U.S. girls aged 15 to 19 fell to 39.1 births per 1,000 teens in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available. That's a 6 percent drop from 2008 and the lowest rate ever recorded in the nearly 70 years that the federal government has been collecting reliable data, according to a preliminary analysis of data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

"The decline in teen births is really quite amazing," said Brady E. Hamilton, who helped perform the analysis.

The drop marked the second year in a row the birth rate among teens fell, meaning it has dropped for 16 out of the past 18 years. The 8 percent two-year decline strengthens the belief that a two-year increase during the preceding two years was an aberration.

    "Just in time for the holidays, a steep decline in teen birth has been announced," said Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies. "We now are, thankfully, back on track."

    The reason for the record low remains unclear, but some experts attributed the two-year decline to the recession, noting that the overall fertility rate as well as the total number of births in the United States declined the second straight year in 2009 as well.

    "I would not have guessed that teenagers would be most responsive to the economic downturn, but maybe we need to revise our stereotypes," said Samuel Preston, a professor of demography at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Brown and others agreed:

    "When money is very tight, all of us think harder about taking risks, expanding our families, taking on new responsibilities," Brown said. "Now I know that teens may not be as savvy about money as those in their 20s and 30s - they probably don't stress over 401(k)s like the rest of us -- but many teens live with financially stressed adults, and they see neighbors and older friends losing jobs and even losing houses. So they, too, feel the squeeze and may be reacting to it by being more prudent. . . . Maybe part of tightening our belts includes keeping our zippers closed, too!"

    That fits with earlier research released in the spring by the Pew Research Center, which found that states hit hardest by the recession experienced the biggest drops in births.

    "Our evidence definitely suggested there was a link between the economic circumstances and what was going on with fertility," said Gretchen Livingston, a Pew senior researcher. "I suspect that's what we're seeing with these lower number. This fits with the historical picture as well."

    Others suggested that intense concern about the 2005 to 2007 increases and the attention it generated may have led to changes in behavior. Some data, for example, indicate that use of birth control pills and other forms of contraception among teen girls is increasing.

    "Although the data are preliminary, it looks like improved contraceptive use is again driving the decline in teen birth rates," said John Santelli of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

    The general fertility rate fell from 68.6 births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 44 to 66.7 in 2009, and the total number of births fell from 4,247,694 to 4,131,019, That trend appears to be continuing into 2010, according to early statistics collected between January and June of this year. The overall drop pushed the fertility rate to about 2.01, a 4 percent drop from 2008. That is the largest decline since 1973 and put the total fertility rate below the level needed to sustain the size of the population for the second year after being above the replacement rate in 2006 and 2007 for the first time in 35 years.

    The birth rate for women in their early 20s fell 7 percent, which is the largest decline for this age group since 1973, accordig to the report. The rates also fell for women in their late 20s and 30s, though it continued to increase for women in their early 40s.

    The rise in teen pregnancies had triggered an intense debate about whether increased funding for sex education programs that focus on encouraging abstinence may be playing a role. As a result, proponents of abstinence education welcomed the new data, saying it exonerated their approach.

    "These trends show that the risk avoidance message of abstinence has 'sticking power' for young people," said Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association. "This latest evidence shows that teen behaviors increasingly mirror the skills they are taught in a successful abstinence education program."

    Huber and others noted that the Obama administration has significantly reduced funding for abstinence-focused programs.

    "With a change in policy away from abstinence education, we may expect to see a reversal of the teen pregnancy birth rate in the years to come," said Jeanne Monahan of the Family Research Council.

    But critics of abstinence programs, who argue the approach does not work, attributed the drop to the recession.

    "We certainly don't want recession to be the most effective form of birth control in the U.S.," said James Wagoner of Advocates for Youth. "We stil need structural reforms in sex education, contraceptive access and pragmatic public policies to ensure a long-term decline in the teen birth rate--during good economic times as well as bad."

    The Obama administration has launched a $110 million teen pregancy prevention effort that will support a range of programs, including those that teach about the risks of specific sexual activities and the benefits of contraception and others that focus primarily on encouraging teens to delay sex.

    Previous coverage:

    By Rob Stein  | December 21, 2010; 11:30 AM ET
    Categories:  Motherhood, Pregnancy, Sex, Teens, Women's Health  
    Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: What's up with Weight Watchers?
    Next: One embryo good for IVF, study finds


    Jeebus, I just don't understand why people see a need for an either/or policy with regards to sex education. How about comprehensive abstinence-oriented education (i.e. if you get pregnant or an STD these are the consequences), but equipping teens with the knowledge of what types of birth control is out there, what is effective, and how to talk to your parents about sex.

    But the religion haters see abstinence as some Christian coalition move. I think, regardless of your faith, less teens HAVING sex is always a good thing.

    But the religious nuts need to understand that there is nothing they can do to STOP teens from having sex short of locking them in their rooms and cutting down the trees in jumping-distance from their windows.

    Posted by: SteadyState | December 21, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

    Obviously, "teen advocate" Bristol has had a huge effect!

    Posted by: fmjk | December 21, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

    Not sure how to interpret this without data on abortions. We know that there's a new abortion clinic in town that will perform abortions up to the eight month of pregnancy. Maybe it's a thriving business in a protracted recession.

    Posted by: blasmaic | December 21, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

    Ditto what blasmaic said. This story is incomplete without data on teen abortion rates.

    Posted by: timothy_t | December 21, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

    The abstinence-only crowd seems quite full of itself. This statistic is for teen BIRTHS only, not teen pregnancies. No mention of whether the number of abortions decreased in parallel, or actually increased. And any decline in actual teen pregnancies is just as likely to be a result of more effective use of contraceptives, if not more likely.

    Posted by: FrankIBC | December 21, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

    with the rise of the internet, more teens have access to information about preventing teen pregnancy and don't have to rely on their parents, friends, school, govt to educate themselves.

    Posted by: mediajunky | December 21, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

    In otherwords the teen pregnancy rate started dropping after Clinton became President and only rose during the BushII years. I'm not suprised. Conservative philosophy is anti-family, unless you are a wealthy anglo-saxon born again. It's amazing all the families conservatives hate, non-Jesus believing, non-born again, one parent households, gay households, households receiving any kind of government support, actually the majority of American households.

    Posted by: bdweiner1 | December 21, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

    Increase in awareness of and use of birth control? Also, perhaps more caution on entering into sexual relationships?

    Posted by: TomSimone | December 21, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

    birth rate down and pregnancy rate up...
    means more babies killed by abortion...
    nothing to be proud of...

    Posted by: DwightCollins | December 21, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

    Increase in availability of "Plan B" plays a role, I'm sure.

    Bdweiner - that crowd believes that life begins at conception... and ends at birth.

    Posted by: FrankIBC | December 21, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse stats on abortions. Oh wait, probably don't hve true and accurate reports of those.

    Posted by: GMaAK53 | December 21, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

    One cause of teen pregnancy that I never see mentioned in these kinds of articles is the prevalence of CHILD SEXUAL MOLESTATION among the under-privileged and under-parented that results in UNWANTED births. In Raleigh, NC, there was recently the case of a 12 year-old girl who was eight months pregnant. Predation by older men (average age 27) is a primary cause of teen pregnancy among the disadvantaged. We need to, as a society, shine some light on these unlawful behaviors.

    Posted by: IIntgrty | December 21, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

    Great news.

    Posted by: johng1 | December 21, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

    What the self-perceived intellectual bloggers, fail to take into account, is the anchors born to the illegals.

    These false prophets do not mention what data bases are used for their inference.

    Posted by: USACitizen1 | December 21, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

    This is encouraging, except that it means there are even fewer entry-level participants in the Social Security Ponzi scheme.

    Posted by: BluePelican | December 21, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

    I applaud the Pope and his new pro-condom stance for these thrilling results...

    Posted by: ozpunk | December 21, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

    "The reason for the record low remains unclear..."

    I think it is very clear. Regardless of the fact that there are still a number of young people sufficiently influenced by selfish and stupid adults, the greater number of them have open eyes and active minds - and they see where careless and self-serving hedonism leads, having had years to watch: the decay of American greatness through the seventies and eighties, the approach of nadir in the nineties, and the plunge to the bottom of the past decade. They are making the personal and conscious decision to hold an aspirin between their knees and find other ways to feel grown up: planning for their futures, working at jobs, engaging in serious study in preparation for a future that only they can make.

    There is more hope for the United States than we think, but it is not us - it is the younger generation. All we can do is - as we keep telling the government - get out of the way. The young ones will ask for help when they need it, rest assured.

    Posted by: captbuzzkill | December 21, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

    I'm so glad so many people picked up on the same issues I did when reading this article! This was unbelievably irresponsible to print without distinguishing between birth and pregnancy rates.
    And regarding the different types of sex ed programs, comprehensive programs DO contain information on abstinence, while also providing medically-accurate information about STDs, birth control, prevention, relationships, etc. It's the abstinence-only-until-marriage programs' proponents that have created this either-or scenario to attempt to create panics by misleading parents and educators. These Abstinence-ONLY programs are not inclusive of all people, are often clearly religion-based, and usually contain medically-inaccurate information. They are dangerous for our youth who do not learn the truth about sex and sexuality, and are thus at greater risk for unplanned pregnancy and STDs! Abstinence may be a great option for some of our youth, but not for everyone, and all our citizens deserve to know the truth about sex so they can make informed decisions about what is right for them.
    WP - I'm extremely disappointed that you ran this story without ensuring the information was clear. Will probably cancel my subscription as a result, and will also be writing a letter to the editor. I find it absolutely shameful that you would contribute to this atmosphere of misinformation and half-truths on such an important issue!

    Posted by: cgo618 | December 21, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

    Conservative, Christian-based prolife organizations are the ONLY groups who care about women who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy...from conception and AFTER the birth of the child. Please do your research before you disparage Christians (whatever color they may be). Have you ever heard of Crisis Pregnancy Centers? How about Care Net? We go way beyond advocating the life of the child. We CARE about women. What does Planned Parenthood have to offer to women after they suffer the trauma and regret of the abortions PP coerced & performed? Not a damn thing! We're here to help those women too. We do not judge (unlike you)..we are here to HELP.

    Posted by: SDwinter | December 21, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

    Why are you looking at these numbers starting at 15?

    Is it true true that the numbers of child pregnancies are actually up if you look at the stats for 9-14 year olds?

    Posted by: aes7 | December 21, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

    The financial explanation may be simpler than described here. Fewer teenagers may be going out as a result of the recession. If you're not out of the house, it's generally harder to engage in procreative acts.

    Posted by: jeffwacker | December 21, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

    Let's not forget that repeated redeployments of young men have had an effect on birth rates. If you're not home, you're not making babies. Plus, the exceptionally high rates of incarceration -- mostly of young men -- have the same effect. The economy is a simple explanation, but a very incomplete one.

    Posted by: Follitics | December 21, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

    Abstinence-only education didn't work in our family...twice! And extended family evidences other instances. Yes, Catholic upbringing.

    My sister (and later her son) have come to rue the fact they were too religious to find out about effective birth control (in place of what turned out to be totally ineffectual means like withdrawal and stuff in soda pop bottles in their cases). Other savvy, self-protecting sibs did seek out and use recommended birth control, even if violating our parents' wishes. My sister's had a hard row to hoe her whole life, after it got set off on the wrong path, when our parents forced her to drop out of college and marry the guy.

    While I agree with SteadyState that we should never turn down any form of sex protection that teens are open to, and that we want to reduce abortion rates at the same time we reduce birth rates, we nevertheless are fools if we follow the advice of Bush-II -- or Bristol-I and her pistol-packing mama ["do as we say and not as our family did"]. Practicing only abstinence, while covering ears with hands and closing eyes as to other, more-pragmatic approaches, will not stave off heartache and poverty for the teen mothers; abstinence-only approaches are not worth the costs to our society as a whole.

    I agree with others that we need a lot more data on what's causing the drop, with the goal of stalling any building mythology about abstinence and teens from gaining a foothold, once the economy starts improving. We had too much of that blinders-on thinking in the 8 yrs where the Bush administration perpetrated such heinous acts as barring US participation in UN-sponsored, worldwide sex protection / HIV-reduction efforts. Research, science and data should prevail if we are to ensure this healthy trend of a lowering birth rate among teens.

    Posted by: versus1 | December 21, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

    That's funny, it's always been the Conservative Christian based organizations that withheld full medical disclosure to pregnant women about their choices. And last I looked, those same organizations always seem to cry about the low availability of adoptable (White?) babies, while pro-choice organizations were providing and advising on full medical and adopting choices.

    Most states are overflowing with available children to adopt, which wouldn't exist if the Christian based organizations were open to finding homes for ALL orphaned children.

    White only HELP has outlived it's usefulness in a modern society.

    Posted by: bdweiner1 | December 21, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

    I suspect that all of the reasons given in the article are responsible for the continuing downward trend in the teen birth rate...But here is another-the changes in the welfare law, and the elimination of ADC.....Birth rates correlate with income..To increase income,one must decrease the number of children in the family group,. to increase ones income, a woman had to increase her family size...ADC had many unintended consequences, and a rise in the teen birth rate was one of them...The current welfare law may be helping some young women make better choices about family, but it too has some very bad side effects-It seems to be correlating with the rise in homelessness.....Judy P.

    Posted by: jem21 | December 21, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

    Do those of you who feel this is an instance where rejecting all knowledge and technology gained in the last 2000 years is really a better answer for a real problem than limiting the available options to those offered in a heavily edited, redacted and historically politicized ancient myth ACTUALLY believe this is the best approach?

    Sadly I've learned over and over that the answer to this is yes. I know many of you find sex offensive and teenage sex even more so but does that really give you the right to deny everyone access to the best available technology to maintain or improve their lives or the moral authority proselytize against use of such technology?

    I find war offensive as well. I only wish all you highly religious folk out there would insist on fighting all future conflicts with slings, spears and bow and arrows. Nowhere in your cherished myth will you find any of the major players preaching to "nuke 'em!" At least be consistent- If you support 'right to life' this support can't END at birth with a slap on the rear and a happy smiling "your on your own now, don't ask me for anything". No solutions to a complex problem should ever be considered if these approaches do not bring all available options to bear in pursuit of a successful outcome.

    It seems obvious to me that "just say no" PLUS contraception and science based education" is likely to be more effective that "just say no". So the only honest question then becomes, "Do you want to make life better for people or do you want to restrict choices to induce needless additional 'moral hazard' to reinforce and support your beliefs?" I'm no longer a religious person because the answer I've generally found in their teachings is that increased suffering is always worthwhile since that further supports the myth.

    Posted by: johnw2k | December 21, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

    bdweiner1 - More stereotypes from an "open-minded" liberal. I am pro-life, pro-gay rights, pro-contraception, and I'm an adoptive mom. Not all prolifers are conservative Christians. And guess what? I'm not even white!

    Posted by: tonksrock | December 21, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

    @SDwinter - talk about the need to do research, Crisis Pregnancy Centers only "care" enough to spread lies and misinformation to women about their options for unplanned pregnancies in hopes of terrifying them away from their legal and moral right to have an abortion if that is the right choice for them. After that happens it's so long, see ya later, don't expect us or the government (since the conservative politicians are anti-support programs as well) to help you out as a 16-year-old single mom. At Planned Parenthood at least a woman can get correct information about ALL her options, including adoption and resources if she chooses to carry the fetus to term, not fear tactics and religious propaganda. The trauma many women experience as a result of mistakenly going to a CPC is far beyond anything women may feel after having an abortion (most feel relief), and even if they do regret an abortion, at least then they weren't pressured by the staff at PP to make a certain choice, only counseled on ALL their options. Give me a break.

    Posted by: cgo618 | December 21, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

    "The reason for the record low remains unclear,"

    Maybe this is the answer (?):

    Posted by: steve1231 | December 21, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

    (1) There seems to be a 'subtext' that the teenage mothers having fewer children are unmarried. It would be interesting to have the figures broken out between teen moms who are married and those who are single. (2) I suspect that fear of STDs may be playing a part and that single teens may be just substituting oral sex (and other 'non-vaginal' forms of sex) for intercourse. I get the impression many adults think there's a correlation between lower pregnancy rates and 'abstinence' when it may just mean they're just substituting more 'innovative' ways of having sex.

    Posted by: tbrucia | December 21, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

    SDwinter - thank you, my friend. Birthright, Several Sources, Carenet and other organizations help women of ALL races who want to carry their children to term with housing, medical care, baby clothing, diapers, formula, etc., free of charge. In fact, in large cities such as NY, Philadelphia, etc., the majority of clients are women of color, and these centers are mostly staffed and run by women. Yet Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and others are trying to shut the pregnancy resource centers down! WHY? We're accused of not caring about women, but when we do try to help them, we are "misleading" them. We are also accused of not respecting the decision making capabilities or intelligence of women, but come on, folks -- what part of abortion ALTERNATIVES don't you understand?

    Also, I worked at a pregnancy resource center as a volunteer (I am a social worker) and I never lied to women, or showed them pictures of dead fetuses, or tried to mislead them in any way. The women understood at any time that they were free to leave, and some did. Once again, we offer ALTERNATIVES to abortion. Why anyone would object to this is beyond me!

    Posted by: tonksrock | December 21, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

    I should hope so giving birth to a teenager is dangerous... it is better to start with a baby first...

    Posted by: Wildthing1 | December 21, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

    In spite of Palin family,

    Posted by: wideblacksky | December 21, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

    Teen birth-rate is unimportant without knowing what the pregnancy rate is and what the abortion rate is. That we have eliminated 55 Million Americans from the face of the planet is a national disgrace. Post-Nazi Germany has a better record than the country which fought to defeat Nazi Germany. What a shame!

    Posted by: markrc1 | December 21, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

    tonksrock@ - that's like during the Reagan Convention when there was only one black man present and he was asked by the media, why do the Republicans seem to have a problem attracting Afro-Americans? And he responded with that's not true, I'm black.

    How many anti-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-contraception, adoptive parents are there? Are you the only one, maybe you know a dozen others, maybe a dozen others in every state. The Log Cabin republicans represent how many, certainly less than 1% of all Republicans (actually since 10% of males are gay it's just that the rest are in the closet)

    Posted by: bdweiner1 | December 21, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

    This story is incomplete without data on teen abortion rates.

    Posted by: timothy_t | December 21, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

    My thoughts exactly. WaPo is notorious for leaving out key fact in its "news" reports.

    Posted by: asmith1 | December 21, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

    Can we see some statistics on the number of abortions? I'll be those are up.

    Posted by: Jsuf | December 21, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

    For the "experts" to make assumptions about the reason for the reduced birth rate of teens without additional data is irresponsible. There needs to be information about live births per pregnancies for complete analysis. Refer to for information on abortion rates. Although underreporting of abortion clinics skews the data. This article also didn't note that births to unwed mothers is on the increase and c-section births are at a record high. Neither of which is good news.

    Posted by: b6400 | December 21, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

    For the "experts" to make assumptions about the reason for the reduced birth rate of teens without additional data is irresponsible. There needs to be information about live births per pregnancies for complete analysis. Refer to for information on abortion rates. Although underreporting of abortion clinics skews the data. This article also didn't note that births to unwed mothers is on the increase and c-section births are at a record high. Neither of which is good news.

    Posted by: b6400 | December 21, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

    Very curious the way the article leaves out numbers on abortions.

    Posted by: rexreddy | December 21, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

    I agree that the article would have been much more meaningful if a comparison was made to both the teen abortion rate and teens use of contraceptives.

    While some of you seem to relish in throwing mud at the effectiveness of one form of pregnancy prevention versus another, or who is lying (or not) about what the teen should do when they become pregnant, or the appropriate aftercare (whether abortive or postpartum), we all need to recognize the dangers in teen sexual activity and help our children become responsible adults.

    I work with a variety of teen programs, from church groups to school programs and Boy Scouts, therefore I am "among them" from 11 year olds to college age. It is disturbing that I am hearing these kids talk about the fact that more and more of our kids are engaging in sex than ever before, and at earlier ages. It is no longer sex among boyfriend and girlfriend, it has become simply "friends with benefits". Some of my kids tell me that "no strings attached" sex among teens has become so casual that it literally is as common as a kiss or a handshake. Drugs aren't the only thing being peddled at school these days, I am told there is now a condom and birth control pill dealer at school.

    While I could not be more pleased that the teen birth rate is at an all time low, the problem is bigger than abstinence only versus comprehensive sex-ed, or abortion versus alternative outcome, or which type birth control is most effective. Parents need to take back the reins and BE PARENTS. Taking the stance that "kids will be kids" or "they're going to do it whether I like it or not" is a cop-out.

    If you are OK with your teen aged son or daughter becoming pregnant or parenting a child, then teach them about birth control and all the joys of sex you can muster. If you're OK with killing an innocent baby, support your local abortionist... but if you're not OK with teen pregnancy and child killing, PARENT your child.

    Like I tell all the kids I work with... if you are not ready to take on ALL the responsibilities of being a parent, you should not be engaging in ANY of the acts that would produce a child. The good feeling you get from having sex is momentary compared to the long term effects of an unwanted pregnancy.

    That's a message even the 11 year olds understand.

    Posted by: JBuck3 | December 21, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

    Finally, some good news.

    Posted by: andrew23boyle | December 21, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

    This is good news period. Hopefully, its because the young ladies are not getting pregnant, but even if they are getting abortions it means I will not have to support a poorly raised, disadvantage child.

    BTW late term abortions have never been a significant factor in birth rates and never will. Most of the data I have seen would indicate if you had all the late term abortions in the whole USA in a single large city, they still would not be a major factor since we are talking about a few hundred late term abortions at most, and the vast majority of those were done because the baby was malformed or the women was going to die.

    Distorting the data by adding in births to unwed mothers period is a dishonest tacit. While it maybe less than ideal for professional women to intentionally have babies by themselves, its far better than teenagers doing the same if only because the professional women can support the babies.

    Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | December 21, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

    I certainly hope so.

    I imagine it's hard to push out a teen.

    Posted by: www-tryveg-com | December 21, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

    For the "experts" to make assumptions about the reason for the reduced birth rate of teens without additional data is irresponsible. There needs to be information about live births per pregnancies for complete analysis. Refer to for information on abortion rates. Although underreporting of abortion clinics skews the data. This article also didn't note that births to unwed mothers is on the increase and c-section births are at a record high. Neither of which is good news.

    Posted by: b6400 | December 21, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

    if there's a widespread "belief that a two-year increase (in teen pregnancies)during the preceding two years was an aberration" then why all the hub-bub and drastic change in policy?

    Posted by: faithfulservant3 | December 21, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

    Re: Number of MARRIED teens.... "There were 891,000 married 15- to 19-year-olds in 2000, up from 598,000 in 1990, when married teens comprised 3.4 percent of all 15- to 19-year-olds. The increase came after a steady decline since 1950, when 9.5 percent of teens were married.

    Some researchers attribute the surge during the 1990s to an influx of immigrants. Many came from areas where marriage is more common among teens — Latin America, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa."

    Posted by: tbrucia | December 21, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

    Shouldn't the teen birth rate be zero? One hundred fifty six months is a hell of a gestation period.

    Posted by: koheleth71 | December 21, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

    "Some data, for example, indicate that use of birth control pills and other forms of contraception among teen girls is increasing"
    Ding ding ding ding ding! We have a winner!

    Posted by: IamWright | December 21, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

    they advocate killing our babies while importing slaves from asia...

    Posted by: DwightCollins | December 21, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

    In addition to the economy, maybe the two shows 16 and Pregnant (3rd season) and Teen Mom (spin-off) both MTV reality television have something to do with the drop. The reality of the pitfalls and responsibilities of teenage pregnancy is there for all to see.

    Posted by: czmars | December 22, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

    Well, whaddaya know; welfare kiddos CAN say NO, after all!

    Posted by: rcan2 | December 22, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

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