From the Greek meaning 'heavy with wine'
A blog devoted to science and reason
Written after a glass or two of Pinot Noir.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Making Fewer Babies

My regular readers may be familiar with the Making Babies post from February 2012 in which I examined teen pregnancies, and the follow-up You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means that explained the circumstances around the first post.  This will be an update to those posts.

Earlier this month, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a data brief that reports some significant findings.

1. For the year 2010, births from teen mothers were 34.3 per 1,000 women aged 15-19. This is a rate never before seen in the U.S.  This rate is a 9% decrease from 2009 and a 44% decrease from 1991.  For those who may think the 50s were a time of wholesomeness, the highest birth rate to teens was reached in 1957.  The rate then was 280% of what it is today.

2. There were 367,752 babies born to teen mothers in 2010.  This is fewer babies than at any time since 1946 when 322,380 were born.  If the teen birth rate had remained where it was in 1991, there would have been 3,400,000 additional babies.

3. The birth rate decrease is seen in all racial and ethnic groups, but there are some worrying variations.

4. There were significant decreases in the birth rate for teen mothers in every state except for Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia. These ten states have the lowest birth rate: New Hampshire (15.7), Massachusetts (17.1), Vermont (17.9), Connecticut (18.9), New Jersey (20.3), Maine (21.4), Rhode Island (22.3), Minnesota (22.5), New York (22.6), Wisconsin (26.2).

The states with the 10 highest rates are Mississippi (55.0), New Mexico (52.9), Arkansas (52.5), Texas (52.2), Oklahoma (50.4), Louisiana (47.7), Kentucky (46.2), West Virginia (44.8), Alabama (43.6), and Tennessee (43.2).

My conclusion?  We're doing something right -  education and consistent use of contraception.

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