Teen Births Decline to Record Low, New Government Figures Show

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 11, 2013   |   2:35PM   |   Washington, DC

New government figures show teen births have declined to a record low. With figures also showing abortions at their lowest point in history nationally and in most states, the figures are positive.

A decline in teen births because of an increase in teen abortions would be a problem and bad news for pro-life advocates working to stop abortions and help young mothers when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

As the new report reveals:

Teenage birth rates fell 8 percent in a single year, from 2010 to 2011, the newest data shows. They’ve now plunged 25 percent since 2007 and they are down 49 percent since 1991, the federal government says.

Births to teen mothers are now at a record low in the United States, the National Center for Health Statistics reports in Monday’s issue of the journal Pediatrics. The new rate: 31.3 births per 1,000 girls and women aged 15 to 19.

The data show teenage births are down across almost all the states and among all ethnic groups.

“If the rates in 1991 had remained the same, there would have been 3.6 million additional births to moms aged 15-19,” he said. More than a million fewer babies came into the world between 2008 and 2011. “This has had a real impact,” he said.

Even with the drop, U.S. teen birth rates are far higher than in other developed countries. In 2010, the U.S. had a teen birth rate of 37.9 per 1,000 women. In Russia, the country with the next-highest rate, it was 30.2 per 1,000, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. In Switzerland, the rate was 4.3 births per 1,000 teen women; in Britain it was 25 per 1,000.

Last year a new study released by a pro-abortion organization that is the former research arm of the Planned Parenthood abortion business said teen abortion and pregnancy rates both fell in 2008 to new record lows.

“Teen pregnancies have declined dramatically in the United States since their peak in the early 1990s, as have the births and abortions that result; in 2008, teen pregnancies reached their lowest level in nearly 40 years,” the Guttmacher Institute said.

They noted: “In 2008, the teen pregnancy rate was 67.8 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19, which means that about 7% of U.S. teens became pregnant that year. This rate represents a 42% decline from the peak in 1990 (116.9 per 1,000). Similarly, the birthrate declined 35% between 1991 and 2008, from 61.8 to 40.2 births per 1,000 teens; the abortion rate declined 59% from its 1988 peak of 43.5 abortions per 1,000 teens to its 2008 level of 17.8 per 1,000.”

Despite the reductions in pregnancy, birth and abortion rates among all racial and ethnic groups, the pro-abortion researchers said disparities between black, white and Hispanic teens persist.



“After peaking in the early 1990s, the teen pregnancy rate dropped by 37% among Hispanics, 48% among blacks and 50% among non-Hispanic whites; yet the rates among black and Hispanic teens remain 2–3 times as high as that of non-Hispanic white teen,” Kathryn Kost and Stanley Henshaw noted. “There were also considerable disparities in birth and abortion rates. The birthrates in 2008 among black and Hispanic teens, as well as Hispanic teens’ abortion rate, were twice the rates among whites; the abortion rate for black teens was four times that of whites.”

The authors said the rates would be lowered if contraception was promoted further even though the Guttmacher Institute’s own research shows 54 percent of women having abortions were using birth control or contraception at the time of their abortion.