Pregnancy rates among Hispanic and black teens are at an all-time low, reflecting overall declines in teen birth rates, new data show.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on April 28 that the rate of Hispanic teens giving birth in the United States has dropped by more than half since 2006. During that same time period, there was a 44% drop in the birth rate for black teens.
Although these dramatic declines occurred against the backdrop of an overall decrease of about 40% in teen birth rates during the last decade, the CDC also reported that birth rates among Hispanics and black teens are still twice as high as they are for whites.
“The United States has made remarkable progress in reducing both teen pregnancy and racial and ethnic differences, but the reality is, too many American teens are still having babies,” Dr. Tom Frieden , CDC director, said in a statement. “By better understanding the many factors that contribute to teen pregnancy, we can better design, implement, evaluate, and improve prevention interventions and further reduce disparities.”
Overall, the birth rate among girls aged 15-19 years dropped from 41.1 to 24.2 per 1,000 from 2006 to 2014. The largest decline occurred in Hispanics, going from 77.4 to 38.0 per 1,000. The next biggest rate decline was in black teens, which fell from 61.9 to 34.9 per 1,000. The rate for white teens declined by 35%, falling from 26.7 to 17.3 per 1,000 ( MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016 Apr;65:409-14 ).
The CDC report indicated state- and community-level patterns, including that rates were notably higher among all races and ethnicities where unemployment is also high, but income and education levels are low. In some states with low overall birth rates, certain counties experienced higher rates. The highest rates nationwide tended to be in counties located in southern and southwestern states.
“These data underscore that the solution to our nation’s teen pregnancy problem is not going to be a one-size-fits-all – teen birth rates vary greatly across state lines and even within states,” Lisa Romero, Dr.P.H. , a health scientist in the CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health, and the report’s lead author, said in a statement. “We can ensure the success of teen pregnancy prevention efforts by capitalizing on the expertise of our state and local public health colleagues. Together, we can work to implement proven prevention programs that take into account unique, local needs.”
The study is based on statistics for births to girls aged 15-19 years occurring between 2006 and 2014, taken from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS). County-level NVSS data from 2013 and 2014 was also used, as were data from the American Community Survey between 2010 and 2014.
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