Teen birth rates fall nearly 50 percent among Hispanic and black teens, dropping national teen birth rate to an all-time low
April 29, 2016 - 9:14 AM
Births among Hispanic and black teens have dropped by almost half
since 2006, according to a new analysis published by CDC. This mirrors a
substantial national decline: births to all American teenagers have
dropped more than 40 percent within the past decade. Despite this
progress, key challenges persist for many communities, according to the
While dramatic declines among Hispanic and black teens (51 percent
and 44 percent, respectively) have helped reduce gaps, birth rates
remain twice as high for these teens nationally compared with white
teens. Published today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the new analysis highlights key community- and state-level patterns:
Dramatic racial and ethnic differences: In some states, birth rates among Hispanic and black teens were more than three times as high as those of whites.
Socioeconomic and education gaps: Higher
unemployment and lower income and education are more common in
communities with the highest teen birth rates, regardless of race.
Key in-state differences: In some states with low overall birth rates, pockets of high birth rates exist in some counties.
Regional patterns: Counties with higher teen birth rates were clustered in southern and southwestern states.
“The United States has made remarkable progress in reducing both teen
pregnancy and racial and ethnic differences, but the reality is, too
many American teens are still having babies,” said CDC Director Tom
Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “By better understanding the many factors that
contribute to teen pregnancy we can better design, implement, evaluate,
and improve prevention interventions and further reduce disparities.”
In the new report, CDC researchers analyzed national- and state-level
data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) to examine trends
in births to American teens ages 15 to 19 years between 2006 and 2014.
County-level NVSS data for 2013 and 2014 also offer a point-in-time
picture of local birth rates. To better understand the relationship
between key social and economic factors and teen birth rates,
researchers examined data from the American Community Survey between
2010 and 2014.
Researchers highlight the importance of teen pregnancy prevention
interventions that address socioeconomic conditions like unemployment
and lower education levels, for reducing disparities in teen birth
rates. State and community leaders can use local data to better
understand teen pregnancy in their communities and to direct programs
and resources to areas with the greatest need.
“These data underscore that the solution to our nation’s teen
pregnancy problem is not going to be a one-size-fits-all – teen birth
rates vary greatly across state lines and even within states,” said Lisa
Romero, Dr.PH., a health scientist in CDC’s Division of Reproductive
Health and lead author of the analysis. “We can ensure the success of
teen pregnancy prevention efforts by capitalizing on the expertise of
our state and local public health colleagues. Together, we can work to
implement proven prevention programs that take into account unique,
has shown that teen pregnancy and childbirth cost U.S. taxpayers an
estimated $9 billion each year and have negative health and social
Preventing teen pregnancy remains one of CDC’s top priorities and the
agency is working on a number of fronts. One key component of this work
is encouraging community-centered efforts. For example, between 2010
and 2015, CDC and the HHS Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) collaborated
to demonstrate the effectiveness of innovative, multicomponent,
communitywide initiatives in reducing rates of teen pregnancy and births
in communities with the highest rates, with a focus on reaching African
American and Latino or Hispanic young people ages 15 to 19 years.
Preliminary outcome data indicate that the community-wide initiatives
were successful - each community increased the number of teens who
received evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention interventions and
reproductive health services, as well as the percentage of teens who
received moderately or highly effective contraceptive methods, including
long-acting reversible contraception. Many of those strategies are now
being implemented across the U.S. through 84 new five-year teen pregnancy prevention grants supported by OAH.
May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. Communities can use this new
information about teen pregnancy in the U.S. to inform the dialogue
about pregnancy and its health and social consequences for youth.
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