California Teen Birth Rate Plummets Thanks To Sex Ed

The California teen birth rate is at a 20 year low, a recent report shows. The report from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released Wednesday says teen birth rates have dropped by almost 60 percent.

These figures are based on data between 1991 and 2011. The report shows that in 1991, for every 1,000 teens aged between 15 and 19, there were 70.9 births. Compares this to the rate of 28 births per 1,000 older teens in California in 2011. This is a major change over just 20 years.

The report from the CDPH shows that teen pregnancy has fallen across all ethnic and racial groups. Though Hispanic and Latino teen birth rates remain the highest of any group in California, they have seen a dramatic decline too.

Why the rapid decline in the California teen birth rate? It’s not likely teens are having sex any less than teens in the 90s were. Instead, the report says that sexual education programs in the state had a lot to do with it, Huffington Post reports.

California has an expansive state school program that requires classes, by law, to be both comprehensive and medically accurate. This knowledge, writes CDPH Director Dr. Ron Chapman, helps “young women and men make responsible choices.”

While the teen birth rate is great news, Opposing Views says Dr. Chapman thinks it is important to not become “complacent.” He says that it is important to “continue to promote teen pregnancy prevention programs and strategies in all communities.”

States without full sex ed programs in their schools tend to be among those with the highest rates of teen pregnancy. Abstinence-only sex education has also been shown, time and again, to not produce major declines in teen birth rates.

This recent report about California teen birth rates dropping after sex education may influence other states still debating about such classes.

[Image via ShutterStock]