U.S. teen birth rate drops to historical low

teen-birth-rateBy Hannah Anderson

The national teenage birth rate for girls age 15-19 fell 8 percent from 2010 to 2011 to the lowest level ever recorded, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in a report (PDF) released Oct. 25.

The report said the 2011 teen birth rate is the lowest on record in more than 70 years. The teen birth rate has dropped 49 percent since 1991, declining at least 3 percent each year.

The rate for ages 15-17 declined even more than for older teens. The 2011 birth rate for ages 15-17 is 15.4 births per 1,000, 29 percent lower than in 2007. The 2011 rate for ages 18-19 is 54.1 births per 1,000, down 25 percent from 2007.

The rate for the youngest teens, age 10-14, remained unchanged at less than 1 per 1,000, the report said. Nationwide, there were 3,974 births to mothers younger than 15.

The report also showed that the birth rates rose for women aged 35-39 and 40-44 and were unchanged for women aged 30-34 and 45-49.

Two factors that are likely to have influenced this trend is that women are waiting longer to have sex, and an increasing number of teens are using highly effective methods of birth control.