Teen Birth Rates Undergo Steep Decline, Especially In Hispanic Community

Teen birth rates have undergone a steep decline throughout the United States with the biggest drop in the Hispanic community, according to a new report from the CDC and National Center for Health Statistics.

The report stated that rates dropped by at least 15 percent for all but two states during 2007 to 2011. Rates fell 30 percent or more in seven states.

Declines among the Hispanic population averaged 34 percent throughout the US. They were followed by a 24 percent drop for non-Hispanic black teenagers and 20 percent for non-Hispanic white teenagers. In 22 states and the District of Columbia, the Hispanic rate fell by 40 percent or more, and dropped by at least 30 percent in 37 states and DC.

West Virginia and North Dakota were the only two states that didn’t experience any significant changes in their teen birth rates during the period of activity, but it was Arkansas that would earn the dubious distinction of having the highest rate in the nation.

However, it wasn’t all bad news for the Natural State. In spite of leading the pack, Arkansas did experience a 16 percent decline, so things are at least heading in the right direction.

In comments reported by UALR Public Radio, Brady Hamilton, a statistician with the National Center for Health Statistics, said the study could help shape public policy regarding teen pregnancy.

“The importance of this is that teens are – teen births are – the focus of public policies and programs designed to limit the number of births for those particular age groups, and this report for example, allows people to sort of see where there have been large declines and where rates remain high and for what particular groups,” Hamilton added.

In February, The Inquisitr reported that across the US, the overall rate of teen pregnancy had declined 25 percent since 2007 and an astounding 49 percent since 1991.

Probable culprits in the decline have been improved prevention methods, sex ed, and, likely, a down economy in which teenagers have seen their parents struggling to make ends meet. Some groups have even taken controversial steps. A recent New York City ad drew ire for shaming teenagers, who get pregnant, with pictures of children with comments like: “Honestly Mom … chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?”

(Yeah, those didn’t go over so well.)

What do you think has been responsible for the drop in teen birth rates across the US and specifically the enormous drop in the Hispanic community?

[Image via ShutterStock]