KIDS COUNT Indicator Brief: Reducing the Teen Birth Rate

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Annie E. Casey Foundation

Data collected in 2006 by the U.N. Statistics Division show teen birth rates in the United States were 1½ times higher than those in the United Kingdom and eight times higher than those in Japan.

KIDS COUNT Data Center found that for individuals ages 15 to 19, the birth rate was about 24 births per 1,000 teens in 2006. In the same year, it was reported that these rates had increased in every racial/ethnic group, excluding whites and Asians/Pacific Islanders. Teen birth rates among racial/ethnic groups in 2006 from highest to lowest were as follows: African Americans (4.8 percent), American Indian and Native Alaskan (3.8 percent) and Latina (1.2 percent).

Collected data also show a growth in teen births from 2005 to 2006 in 41 states and the District of Columbia. The largest increases came in the South and Southwest.

Although there isn’t a simple explanation for this rise in teen childbearing, researchers singled out a trend toward earlier puberty among girls as well as a decline in use of contraceptives. The brief discusses six strategies for preventing teen pregnancy, including reinvigorating prevention efforts, intensifying the focus on underlying causes; helping parents succeed in their role as sex educators; creating community-wide action plans for teen pregnancy prevention; and giving young people a credible vision of a positive future that takes into account current economic realities.

Free, 17 pages.