Teen Birth Rates in the U.S. Hit a Record Low

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Last year there were fewer teenage births in the United States than ever before, according to a new government report.

The rate of births among 15-to-19 year olds declined by 9% in 2016 compared to 2015 — a record low for that age group, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control. The birth rate was 20.3 births per 1,000 woman in 2016, compared to 22.3 births per 1,000 women in 2015.

The birth rate for women aged 20 to 24 also declined; in 2016, there were 4% fewer births among that age group, another record low.

The total number of births in the U.S. declined by 1% overall. In 2016, there were 3,941,109 births in total, but in 2015 there were 3,978,497. This is the second year that the number of births has declined following an increase in 2014, the government report explains.

The report did not discuss the reasons behind the teenage birth rate drop, but Elise Berlan, M.D., of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, attributed the decline to better access to and use of contraceptives in an interview with the New York Daily News. “We know that the vast majority of teen births are unintended,” she added.

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Write to Kate Samuelson at kate.samuelson@time.com