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Teen Birth Rate in the US Hits Record Low, 50-Percent Decline for Blacks and Hispanics

Apr 30, 2016 10:01 AM EDT
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This baby participated at the Aquaphor Diaper Derby at the Hilton New York in 2012 in New York City.
(Photo : Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)

A recent analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that the teen birth rates in the United States reached a record low, with Hispanic and African-American teenagers leading the decline.

Federal health officials said American teens giving birth -- or "babies having babies" -- plummeted to 61 percent from the early 1990s, when teen birth rates were on peak levels and sparked a nationwide crisis, as per Newsweek.

The study further revealed that the biggest decline occurred in Hispanic teens, with 51 percent, and blacks, 44 percent, since 2006. The birth rate for white teens dropped by 35 percent. Despite this parallel decrease among different races, the birth rate for the two minority groups remained twice higher than whites.

The report was published in the center's "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" and was based on nationwide data from the National Vital Statistics System, which collects information on birth rates at national, state and county levels.

The study also presented key highlights focusing on community- and state-level patterns.

For instance, gaps in socioeconomic status and education play a role in teen birth rates. The report showed that regardless of race, higher unemployment and lower income and education were more common in communities with a very high number of teens having babies.

Nationwide, the highest teen birth rates were recorded in Southern and Southwestern states. For instance, the highest overall birth rates recorded in 2014 were in Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma. The lowest birth rates were recorded in Northeastern states, such as Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Several theories for the dramatic decline include new approaches to sex education and easier accessibility to the Internet. However, the Washington Post reported that experts agree on two major causes: better access to contraception and teens actually having less sex, despite popular TV that banks on a "sex sells" concept.

In a press statement, CDC director Tom Frieden called it a "remarkable progress," noting, however, that too many American teens are still giving birth.

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