U.S. teen pregnancy, birth and abortion rates at historic lows

Women ages 18 to 19 constituted 69 percent of U.S. teen pregnancies.

Alex Cukan
Rates of teen pregnancy, birth and abortion have declined dramatically in the United States since their peak in the early 1990s. CDC photo.
Rates of teen pregnancy, birth and abortion have declined dramatically in the United States since their peak in the early 1990s. CDC photo.

NEW YORK, May 7 (UPI) -- Since 1986 to 1991, when U.S. pregnancy, abortion and birth rates peaked; teen pregnancy rates dropped 51 percent by 2010 and the teen abortion rate declined 66 percent and the teen birthrate declined 44 decreased.

Kathryn Kost and Stanley Henshaw of the Guttmacher Institute in New York found in 2010, about 625,000 U.S. women younger than age 20 became pregnant -- 614,000 pregnancies were among teens ages 15 to 19, and another 11,000 among those age 14 and younger. Most pregnancies were among women ages 18 to 19 -- this age group constituted 69 percent of teen pregnancies. The pregnancy rate among teens was 57.4 pregnancies per 1,000 women; or about 6 percent of U.S. teens became pregnant in 2010. From 2008 to 2010 alone, the U.S. teenage pregnancy rate rate dropped 15 percent.


“The decline in the teen pregnancy rate is great news,” lead author Kathryn Kost said in a statement.

“Other reports had already demonstrated sustained declines in births among teens in the past few years; but now we know that this is due to the fact that fewer teens are becoming pregnant in the first place. It appears that efforts to ensure teens can access the information and contraceptive services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies are paying off.”

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The pregnancy rate among sexually experienced teens -- those who had sexual intercourse before -- was 126.6 pregnancies per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19, reflecting that the overall U.S. teen pregnancy rate includes a substantial proportion of young women who have never had sex, the report said. The pregnancy rate among sexually experienced teenagers dropped 43 percent since 1990, when it was 223.1 per 1,000 women.

Teen pregnancy rates declined in all 50 states from 2008 to 2010, but in 2010, New Mexico had the highest teen pregnancy rate of 80 per 1,000 women, followed by Mississippi at 76 per 1,000 women and Texas at 73 per 1,000 women; while the lowest rate was in New Hampshire with 28 per 1,000 women, Vermont at 32 per 1,000 women and Minnesota at 36 per 1,000 women.

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