Adolescent Pregnancy and Protective Behaviors
Until recently, adolescent pregnancy and birth rates in the United States had been slowly but steadily declining. But 2006 data showed a three percent rise in birth rates among 15- to 19-year-old women. Teens report delaying sex longer than in the past. Abstinence rates increased between 1991 and 2007 for girls and boys and for white, black, and Hispanic teens. Sexually active teens' use of condoms has increased but is leveling off. Compared to teens in some European countries, U.S. teens initiate sex later but do not use contraception as well. Studies suggest that pressure, lack of knowledge, and worries about confidentiality affect teens' use of contraception. This fact sheet describes recent trends in pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates, and offers findings on abstinence and contraceptive use among teens.