Dramatic Drop in Teen Pregnancy

she is 15
Creative Commons License photo credit: romana klee

While you might not know it if you’re watching the reality shows “Teen Mom” or “16 and Pregnant”, the rate of teen pregnancy is actually on the decline. Not only is it on the decline, research suggests that this is because of more effective use of birth control than ever before.

According to recent studies on teen pregnancy, 7% of teens got pregnant in 2008. (2008 is the most recent year that we have data available.) This is significantly down from just 18 years prior. In 1990, the teen pregnancy rate hit its highest levels, with 11.7% of teens becoming pregnant.

Teen birth rate, abortion rate, drop too

Along with the drop in the rate of teen pregnancies, other numbers have fallen, as well. Here are some interesting statistics that went along with the study:

  • In 1991, 6.2% of teens gave birth. In 2008, that dropped to 4%.
  • In 1988 – the highest year on record – 4.35% of teens had an abortion. In 2008, that rate was only 1.8%.
  • Abortion is also becoming less common a solution for teen pregnancy. In 1986, 46% of teen pregnancies ended with abortion. In 2008, that had dropped to 31%.

Many factors

The research suggests that the pregnancy rate dropped for most groups largely due to the use of contraceptives. That is especially true for 18- and 19-year olds. For teens between 15 and 17, it was because of a mixture of contraceptive use and reduced sexual activity.

It all comes down to the fact that teens are becoming more responsible and smarter when it comes to sex.

Some problems for ethnic groups

While teen pregnancies dropped among all ethnic groups, blacks and Hispanics still face a number of problems. According to the numbers:

  • The birth rate for both black and Hispanic teens was more than two times the rate for white teens.
  • Among Hispanic teens, the abortion rate was twice what it is for white teens.
  • Among blacks, that rate jumps to four times what it is for white teens.

While overall the numbers are encouraging, there are still some troublesome disparities.

So, what do you think? Do these statistics mean that teens are becoming more responsible?


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