Pregnant woman. (PD/Wikimedia)
Teen birth rates fell at least 15 percent in all but two states from 2007 to 2011, leading to a record low for the U.S., which nonetheless still has one of the highest birth rates among developed nations, at an estimated cost of $10.9 billion annually, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control.
“The overall rate declined 25 percent from 41.5 per 1,000 teenagers aged 15-19 in 2007 to 31.3 in 2011 -- a record low,” the CDC report said. The number of births to teenagers aged 15-19 fell during that period by 26 percent to 329,797.
In 2011, Hispanic teens reported the highest rate of births among teenagers at 49.4 per 1,000, slightly ahead of Non-Hispanic black teens at 47.4. Non-Hispanic white teens registered a birthrate of 21.8 per 1,000.
Despite that, Hispanic teens saw the highest decline in teen births at 34 percent overall from 2007 to 2011. Birth rates declined 40 percent or more for Hispanic teens in 22 states and Washington, D.C. Rates declined 20 percent or more for non-Hispanic black teens in 34 states and non-Hispanic white teens in 30 states.
Rates in Arizona and Utah declined the most, at 35 percent each from 2007 to 2011. Most states dropped at least 15 percent, and the only two states to report no significant change from 2007 were North Dakota and West Virginia.
The CDC report notes the birth rate has been falling since 1991, with the exception of 2006 and 2007. The report credits the declines to "strong teen pregnancy prevention messages," and increased use of contraception for first sexual encounters. The report also notes increased use of dual-contraception -- both condoms and hormonal birth control -- among sexually active female and male teenagers.