WASHINGTON -- The nation's teen birth (ages 15-19) rate declined 2% in 2008, according to final data released today by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistic (NCHS). The birth rate for Hispanic teens declined 5% in 2008 and is now lower than for any year since 1989 when rates for Hispanic teens first became available.
After declining every year between 1991 and 2005, the overall national teen birth rate increased 5% between 2005 and 2007 before declining 2% between 2007 and 2008. Taken together, the teen birth rate has increased 2.4% between 2005 and 2008. The nation's teen birth rate now stands at 41.5 births per 1,000 girls age 15-19.
"The good news today should be tempered by the realization that the extraordinary progress the nation has made since the early 1990s in preventing teen pregnancy and childbearing has essentially stalled," said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "We remain concerned that one of the nation's great success stories of the past two decades might be unraveling.
The urgency of helping young people avoid pregnancy and parenthood in their teen years is clear. As we have noted many times in the past, lower rates of teen childbearing means more high school graduates, lower rates of child poverty, and significant taxpayer savings.
We continue to applaud and appreciate the important investment in proven efforts to prevent teen pregnancy made this year by the Obama Administration and Congress. However, continued and lasting progress in preventing too-early pregnancy and parenthood requires more than a federal investment. Parents, for example, must recognize their important role in helping their children make good decisions about relationships, sex, and contraception. Others concerned about helping young people succeed must recommit themselves to discovering new and engaging ways to reach young people, to helping them see the value of delaying sex and, for those who are having sex, to underscoring the critical importance of using contraception consistently and carefully."
Teen birth data by the numbers:
Overall, the teen birth rate has declined 33% between 1991 and 2008.
The birth rate declined two percent between 2007 and 2008 for non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black teens age 15-19.
In 2008, births to teens age 18-19 accounted for 68% of all births to teens. There was a four percent decline for this age group between 2007 and 2008.
There was a 2% decline between 2007 and 2008 in the birth rate for girls age 15-17.
In 2008, most births to teens (80%) were first births-16% were second births and the remainder were births to teens who had two or more previous births.
Readers should note that preliminary 2008 national teen birth data was released in April 2010 and preliminary 2008 state teen birth data was released in October 2010. Traditionally, there is little difference between the preliminary and final national teen birth data and that is the case with 2008 teen birth data-the preliminary and final 2008 national teen birth rate are both reported to be 41.5 births per 1,000 teen girls age 15-19.
Get more information on the birth data from a Campaign fact sheet: HERE
About The National Campaign:
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families. Our specific strategy is to prevent teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among single, young adults. We support a combination of responsible values and behavior by both men and women and responsible policies in both the public and private sectors. If we are successful, child and family well-being will improve.