Nationwide, teen pregnancy, birth and abortion rates have plunged, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive-health research and education organization. From 1990 to 2010, the U.S. pregnancy rate for 15-to-19-year-olds fell by 51%, with approximately 614,000 occurring in 2010.
A drop in pregnancies was seen across racial and ethnic groups, though Hispanic and black teens got pregnant at nearly three times the rate of their white peers. In 1990 the white-teen pregnancy rate was 86.6 per 1,000 vs. 223.8 per 1,000 for black teens. In 2010 the rates had fallen to 37.8 per 1,000 for whites and 99.5 per 1,000 for blacks. Among Hispanic teens, the pregnancy rate fell from a high of 169.7 per 1,000 in 1992 to 83.5 per 1,000 in 2010.
Similarly, there was a 66% decline in abortions from 1998 to 2010, when there were a reported 14.7 abortions per 1,000 women. Teen birthrates fell by 44% from 1991 to 2010, with about 34.4 births per 1,000 women.
"The decline in the teen pregnancy rate is great news,” lead author Kathryn Kost said in a statement. “Other reports had already demonstrated sustained declines in births among teens in the past few years; but now we know that this is due to the fact that fewer teens are becoming pregnant in the first place. It appears that efforts to ensure teens can access the information and contraceptive services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies are paying off.”
In response to the decline, the vice president of education for Planned Parenthood Leslie Kantor said in a statement, “Planned Parenthood is thrilled to see a record low in teen pregnancy rates in this country.”