Birth Rates for U.S. Teenagers Reach Historic Lows for All Age and Ethnic Groups
While the U.S. teen birth rate has been generally on a long-term decline since the late 1950s, it remains one of the highest among industrialized countries. Moreover, childbearing by teenagers continues to be a matter of public concern because of the elevated health risks for teen mothers and their infants. In addition, significant public costs are associated with teen childbearing, estimated at $10.9 billion annually. In this data brief, the authors use data from the National Vital Statistics System's 2010 preliminary file to illustrate the recent trends and variations in teen childbearing. These data show that the U.S. teen birth rate fell 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, reaching a historic low of 34.3 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19. However, teen birth rates vary significantly by state, reflecting in part differences in the population composition of states by race and Hispanic origin.