Birth rates for U.S. teenagers reach historic lows for all age and ethnic groups

NCHS Data Brief. 2012 Apr;(89):1-8.


The widespread significant declines in teen childbearing that began after 1991 have strengthened in recent years. The teen birth rate dropped 17 percent from 2007 through 2010, a record low, and 44 percent from 1991. Rates fell across all teen age groups, racial and ethnic groups, and nearly all states. The drop in the U.S. rate has importantly affected the number of births to teenagers. If the 1991 rates had prevailed through the years 1992–2010, there would have been an estimated 3.4 million additional births to teenagers during that period. The impact of strong pregnancy prevention messages directed to teenagers has been credited with the birth rate declines (9–11). Recently released data from the National Survey of Family Growth, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), have shown increased use of contraception at first initiation of sex and use of dual methods of contraception (that is, condoms and hormonal methods) among sexually active female and male teenagers. These trends may have contributed to the recent birth rate declines (12).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Birth Rate / ethnology*
  • Birth Rate / trends*
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / ethnology*
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology