Teen Birth Rate Dropped in 2008

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The birth rate for U.S. teenagers dropped 2 percent in 2008, reversing two years of increases that had interrupted a 14-year decline, according to statistics released last month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The biggest drop in the birth rate (4 percent) occurred among older teens, ages 18 to 19, who had led the earlier increases. The birth rate for teens 15 to 17 dropped by 2 percent, while the rate for girls 10 to 14 stayed the same.

The statistics in the report – Births: Preliminary Data for 2008 – are preliminary and are based on 99.9 percent of all births registered in 2008.

Overall, the data show, the total number of births in the United States dropped almost 2 percent in 2008, from 4,317,119 in 2007 to 4,251,095. The only age groups that showed an increase in birthrates were women 40 to 44 and 45 to 54.

The birth rate for Hispanic teens fell to 77.4 births per 1,000 girls – about a 5 percent drop, and the lowest rate recorded for this group in the two decades for which figures are available. The declines for non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks were both about 2 percent, according to the study, from the CDC’s Division of Vital Statistics.

The proportion of all births to unmarried women rose to 40.6 percent, with teenagers accounting for 22 percent of all births to unmarried women. In 1975, teen mothers comprised 52 percent of births to unmarried women.