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U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rate at Historic Lows

Planned Parenthood Celebrates by Citing Contributions of Sex Education and Birth Control

NEW YORK, NY–(ENEWSPF)–May 6, 2014.  A new study published yesterday by the Guttmacher Institute found that rates of teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion have declined dramatically in the U.S. at both state and national levels. The study, “U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2010: National and State Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity,” shows that in 2010, the U.S. teenage pregnancy rate reached its lowest point in more than 30 years (57.4 per 1000), down 51% from its peak in 1990 (116.9 per 1000). Between 2008 and 2010 alone, the rate dropped 15%.

“Planned Parenthood is thrilled to see a record low in teen pregnancy rates in this country,” said Leslie Kantor, vice president of education for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Planned Parenthood is proud to provide sex education and access to services that help teens prevent unintended pregnancies, and we’re gratified that these efforts have contributed to this historic low in teen pregnancy rates.

“Every day, we work to reach teens with information about healthy relationships, as well as the importance of protecting themselves against both unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. We’ve been doing this work for almost a century, and we remain committed to helping teens make good decisions and engage in healthy behavior.”

The report shows that declines in teen pregnancy rates were seen across all racial and ethnic groups. However, racial and ethnic disparities persist — pregnancy rates among black and Hispanic teens remain twice as high as the rate for non-Hispanic white teens.

The report shows that teen pregnancy rates saw a decline in all 50 states between 2008 and 2010. However, differences were seen between states, and the U.S. rate continues to be high when compared to other developed countries.

“The good news is that we know what works to prevent teen pregnancy. Sex education works. Ensuring that teens have access to birth control works,” said Kantor. “When young people have accurate information and resources, they make responsible decisions.”

Today’s report also shows that between 2008 and 2010, an increasing proportion of 18- and 19-year-olds reported having had sex, yet fewer of them became pregnant, leading researchers to credit changes in contraceptive use.

The Role of Sex Education in Preventing Teen Pregnancy

Research shows that well-designed and well-implemented sex education programs — the type of education provided by Planned Parenthood — can decrease sexual risk behaviors among teens, including delaying sexual intercourse, increasing condom or contraceptive use, reducing the number of partners, and decreasing the frequency of unprotected sex.

Comprehensive sex education is supported by organizations like the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics — and by a majority of Americans, including the vast majority of both parents and teens.

Technological Innovation

“Despite declines across all ethnic and racial groups, teen pregnancy rates among African-American and Hispanic teens are twice as high as white teens, indicating that we have to do a better job at reaching all young people with information and resources,” said Kantor.

“This is why Planned Parenthood has created an array of digital education tools to help young people stay healthy and plan for their futures. In order to reach as many teens as possible we need to embrace social media and technologically innovative interventions.”

Planned Parenthood recently launched nine interactive mobile tools bringing together age-appropriate sex education with what teens like to do online; they have already been used by over 100,000 young people.

Additionally, Planned Parenthood’s innovative chat/text program enables teens to correspond with trained staff via IM or text messages with urgent questions about birth control failure, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, or STDs, reaching teens with critical information about sex and health in moments of intense worry when they are in need of fast, confidential help. The program has now reached more than 325,000 people; 45 percent of users are aged 15-19. You can view chat/text at www.plannedparenthood.org/chat or by texting 774636.

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of sex education, offers resources, guidance, and effective programs for teens and parents. Every year, Planned Parenthood provides educational programs to more than a million people of all ages, and every day, Planned Parenthood works in schools and communities across the country to provide comprehensive sex education programs.


Further findings from the Guttmacher Institute report:

In 2010, roughly 625,000 women younger than 20 became pregnant. Some 614,000 pregnancies were among teenagers (women aged 15–19), and another 11,000 were among those aged 14 and younger.

The pregnancy rate among teenagers was 57.4 pregnancies per 1,000 women; this means that about 6% of teens became pregnant in 2010.

The teenage birth rate in 2010 was 34.4 births per 1,000 women. This was 44% lower than the peak rate of 61.8, reached in 1991.

The 2010 teenage abortion rate was 14.7 abortions per 1,000 women. This figure is the lowest since abortion was legalized and 66% lower than its peak in 1988 (43.5).

Among non-Hispanic white teenagers, the pregnancy rate declined 56% between 1990 and 2010 (from 86.6 per 1,000 to 37.8).

The pregnancy rate among black women aged 15–19 fell 56% between 1990 and 2010 (from 223.8 per 1,000 to 99.5), but remains more than twice the non-Hispanic white rate.

Among Hispanic teenagers (of any race), the pregnancy rate fell 51% between its peak in 1992 and 2010 (from 169.7 per 1,000 to 83.5); this, too, is more than twice the rate for non-Hispanic white teenagers. In just two years, from 2008 to 2010, the teen pregnancy rate for Hispanic teens fell 23 rate points.

Between 1988 and 2000, and again between 2000 and 2005, teenage pregnancy rates declined in every state. Between 2008 and 2010, again, the teenage pregnancy rate declined in all 50 states.

In 2010, New Mexico had the highest teenage pregnancy rate (80 pregnancies per 1,000 women); the next highest rates were in Mississippi (76), Texas (73), Arkansas (73), Louisiana (69) and Oklahoma (69). The lowest rates were in New Hampshire (28), Vermont (32), Minnesota (36), Massachusetts (37) and Maine (37).

In 2010, teenage birth rate was highest in Mississippi (55 per 1,000 in 2010), and the next highest rates were in New Mexico (53), Arkansas (53), Texas (52) and Oklahoma (50). The lowest rates were in New Hampshire (16), Massachusetts (17), Vermont (18), Connecticut (19) and New Jersey (20).


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.

Source: plannedparenthood.org


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