U.S. Teen Birth Rates Decrease Over Last 20 Years

pregnant mom. (Image credit: stock.xchng)

Teen birth rates have decreased by 37 percent in the United States in the last two decades, though the U.S. rates are up to nine times higher than in other developed countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Canada, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 46 percent of teens have had sexual intercourse, but about 14 percent of sexually active teen girls and 10 percent of teen boys report that they do not use any type of birth control, according to the report released April 5.

"Though we have made progress in reducing teen pregnancy over the past 20 years, still far too many teens are having babies," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement. "Preventing teen pregnancy can protect the health and quality of life of teenagers, their children, and their families throughout the United States."

Contraceptive use is lowest — and teen childbirth is highest — among Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks, the report said. Black and Hispanic teen girls are about two to three times more likely to give birth than white teens, according to the report.

Fifty-eight percent of black teen girls have had sex, while 45 percent of Hispanic teen girls and 45 percent of white teen girls have had sex, the report said. For teen boys, 72 percent of black teen males have had sex, while 53 percent of Hispanic teen males and 40 percent of white teen males have had sex.

Teen pregnancy is a risk factor for other negative life outcomes, the report said. About half of teen mothers do not get a high school diploma before the age of 22 and girls born to teen mothers are almost one-third more likely to become teen mothers themselves.

Children of teen parents also are more likely to have low school achievement, drop out of school and be teen parents themselves, the report said.

Pass it on: While teen pregnancy has technically decreased over the last two decades, rates are still high compared with other developed countries.

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This story was provided by MyHealthNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience.

Live Science Staff
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