Teen births have continued to drop, reaching a historic low in 2012 and hitting half of what they were in 1991, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The birthrate for teens, ages 15 to 19, dropped 6 percent from 31.3 births per 1,000 teen girls in 2011 to 29.4 in 2012. Teen birthrates were down for all racial and ethnic groups.
This is the lowest teen birthrate since 1940 when data on teen births started being collected, says lead author Brady Hamilton, a statistician with the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's less than half of what it was in 1991, the recent peak of teen births (61.8 births per 1,000 teen girls), he says.
Why have the rates continued to go down?
"It really is this magic formula of less sex and more contraception that has driven the rates down," said Bill Albert, a spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "More kids are delaying sex, which is a good and responsible thing to do, and the kids who are having sex are using contraception more consistently and carefully, also a good and responsible thing to do."