Government health officials in the United States have announced that teen birth rates have hit a record low, having dropped thirty-seven percent in the last two decades.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that while this is good news, the teen pregnancy rate in the US is up to nine times higher than other comparable developed countries. Almost one-third of girls still get pregnant within their teen years.
The CDC reports were produced based on 2009 data on fifteen to nineteen year olds. They show that almost half of all teens say they’ve had sexual intercourse and of those, ten to fifteen percent say they do not use birth control. These numbers are particularly high among Hispanics, who have the lowest claimed use of contraceptives and not surprisingly also have the highest teen birth rates. The reports note that Hispanic and black teens are more than twice as likely to become pregnant than white teens.
While happy to have hit a new low, the CDC urges for further sex education in schools and for parents to continue discussing the issue with their children at home, even at young ages, so that the lesson becomes engrained.