The number of U.S. babies born to teen mothers dropped to record lows in 2011, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fewer women gave birth in their 20s as well than in prior years, the researchers said in findings published in Pediatrics -- but the birth rate increased for those in their late 30s and early 40s.
The new data showed an eight percent drop in teen births between 2010 and 2011, with just over three percent of 15- to 19-year-olds having babies during that period.
CDC statistician Brady Hamilton, lead author of the report, and his colleagues calculated that 3.6 million more babies would have been born to women in that age group over the last two decades had the teen birth rate not been falling since a peak in 1991.
Hamilton said the decline in teen births, in particular, is especially welcome news and reflects the efforts of programs and policies targeting that age group.