Late last week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Births: Preliminary Data for 2010. Among other key findings in the report, data showed the birth rate for teenagers fell 9% to 34.3 births per 1,000 females aged 15-19 in 2010, the lowest level ever reported for the United States. This 9% decrease from 2009 is the largest single year decrease since 1946-47. The rate has fallen 44% from 1991 (61.8) when U.S. teen birth rates began a long-term decline.
Here at Healthy Teen Network, it goes without saying that we are encouraged by–and thankful for–the news of this dramatic decline.
“The teen birth rate decline is excellent news, supporting the recent emphasis and federal funding for evidenced-based programs to prevent teen pregnancy,” says Dr. Pat Paluzzi, President/CEO of Healthy Teen Network. “These programs are proven to be effective at reducing sexual risk-taking behavior and incorporate messages on both abstinence and medically accurate information about contraception.”
Teen birth rates for all race and Hispanic origin groups reached historic lows in 2010. Declines for teens ages 15-19 ranged from 9% each for non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black teens to 12% for Hispanic and American Indian and Alaskan Native teens, and 13% for Asian and Pacific Islander teens. “Although the rates declined across marginalized youth populations, health disparities continue to persist,” Dr. Paluzzi notes. “We must continue to focus our efforts on empowering youth and incorporating youth development principles into our work.”
As the only national organization focused on teen pregnancy prevention and pregnant and parenting teens, Healthy Teen Network remains a strong advocate for teens who have become pregnant and/or are parenting . Dr. Paluzzi says, “The teen birth rate is down, but continuing to support pregnant and parenting teens is as important as ever. With caring support and resources, adolescents and young adults can be effective parents and successful adults.”
Kelly Connelly is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Healthy Teen Network.