Despite the popularity of MTV’s hit shows ‘Popularity 16 and Pregnancy’, teen birth rates are the lowest in the United States at all times.
Of the approximately 4 million babies born in the United States in 2010 (full year of available data), less than 375,000 are mothers under the age of 20.
According to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Chronic decline in teen birth rates is associated with strong contraceptive messages indicating adolescence.
In short, as a result of sex education programs, teenagers are less likely to become pregnant at any time in the last two decades. Pregnancy rates, abortion rates and fetal loss rates have dropped in recent years.
These declines occurred at the same time as rates of contraceptive use increased, leading leading researchers to believe that more effective and widespread contraceptive use was the main reason for the decline in teenage pregnancy rates.
The birth rate of women aged 15–17 years dropped by more than ten percent between 2009 and 2010. At 17.3 births per 1,000 women, the birth rate at 15–17 years was less than half the rate in the 1990s. The birth rate for women aged 18–19 has seen a similar decline over the past two decades.
The highest teen birth rate is in the southern states, with Mississippi having the first birth rate of 55–15 births per 1,000 women. The Mississippi teen birth rate is 60 percent higher than the national average. New Hampshire has the lowest rate of 15.7.
Of the four largest states, California has the highest teen birth rate at 31.5, Texas at 52.2, New York at 22.7 and Florida at 32.0.