Teen births drop nationwide and in Iowa

The U.S. teen birth rate reached “a historic low in 2010,” according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control this week. Iowa was among 47 states where the birth rate for teenagers fell significantly from 2007 to 2010, and Iowa’s rate of 28.6 births per 1,000 teenagers was ranked 34th nationwide. More details are after the jump.

Key findings reported by the CDC:

* The U.S. teen birth rate declined 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, reaching a historic low at 34.3 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19; the rate dropped 44 percent from 1991 through 2010.

* Teen birth rates by age and race and Hispanic origin were lower in 2010 than ever reported in the United States.

* Fewer babies were born to teenagers in 2010 than in any year since 1946. If the teen birth rates observed in 1991 had not declined through 2010 as they did, there would have been an estimated 3.4 million additional births to teens during 1992-2010.

* Teen birth rates fell in all but three states during 2007-2010. Teen birth rates by state vary significantly, reflecting in part differences in the population composition of states by race and Hispanic origin.

Teen childbearing has been generally on a long-term decline in the United States since the late 1950s (1-3). In spite of these declines, the U.S. teen birth rate remains one of the highest among other industrialized countries (4). Moreover, childbearing by teenagers continues to be a matter of public concern because of the elevated health risks for teen mothers and their infants (5,6). In addition, significant public costs are associated with teen childbearing, estimated at $10.9 billion annually (7). The most current data available from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), the 2010 preliminary file, are used to illustrate the recent trends and variations in teen childbearing.

The U.S. teen birth rate declined 9 percent to reach a historic low in 2010.

* The birth rate for U.S. teenagers fell 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, to 34.3, the lowest level ever reported in the seven decades for which a consistent series of rates is available (1,3) (Figure 1).

* The 2010 rate was 44 percent below the recent peak in 1991, and 64 percent lower than the all-time high level of 96.3 recorded during the baby boom year of 1957 (1).

* Birth rates fell from 2009 to 2010 for teenagers in age groups 10-14, 15-17, and 18-19. The rate for the youngest teenagers was a record low for the United States (0.4).

* The birth rate for teens aged 15-17 dropped 12 percent, from 19.6 per 1,000 in 2009 to 17.3 in 2010. The 2010 rate was less than one-half the level in 1991 (38.6).

* The rate for ages 18-19 dropped 9 percent, from 64.0 in 2009 to 58.3 in 2010.

Click here and scroll down to Figure 6 for a map showing that the lowest teen birth rates are in New England, followed by other northeast and upper Midwest states. The highest teen birth rates are in the south.

A table showing further details on the teen birth rate by state is here (pdf). Iowa’s teen birth rate dropped by 13 percent from 2007 (32.8 births per 1,000 teens aged 15-19) to 2010 (28.6 births per 1,000 in the same age group). Among neighboring states, Minnesota and Wisconsin have lower teen birth rates than Iowa, while Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota, and Illinois have higher teen birth rates than Iowa.

Mississippi has the highest teen birth rate, nearly twice as high as Iowa’s. The other top ten teen birth rates were found in New Mexico, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kentucky, the District of Columbia, West Virginia, and Alabama.

Michael Muskal reported for the Los Angeles Times,

The declines have generally been attributed to the increase of pregnancy prevention messages directed at teenagers. Recently released data from the National Survey of Family Growth, conducted by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, have shown increased use of contraception at first initiation of sex and use of dual methods of contraception.

The full CDC report on “Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing, 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth” is here (pdf).

You need to signin or signup to post a comment.