Teen Birth Rate Rises For First Time In 14 Years

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Teen Birth Rate

The teen birth rate in the United States rose in 2006 for the first time since 1991, and unmarried childbearing also rose significantly, according to preliminary birth statistics released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The statistics are featured in a new report, "Births: Preliminary Data for 2006, " prepared by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, and are based on data from over 99 percent of all births for the United States in 2006. Although the findings in this early version will not change, the final report will have more detailed data.

The report shows that between 2005 and 2006, the birth rate for teenagers aged 15-19 rose 3 percent, from 40.5 live births per 1,000 females aged 15-19 in 2005 to 41.9 births per 1,000 in 2006. This follows a 14-year downward trend in which the teen birth rate fell by 34 percent from its all-time peak of 61.8 births per 1,000 in 1991.

"It's way too early to know if this is the start of a new trend, " said Stephanie Ventura, head of the Reproductive Statistics Branch at CDC. "But given the long-term progress we've witnessed, this change is notable. "

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The largest increases were reported for non-Hispanic black teens, whose overall rate rose 5 percent in 2006. The rate rose 2 percent for Hispanic teens, 3 percent for non-Hispanic white teens, and 4 percent for American Indian teens.

The birth rate for the youngest teens aged 10-14 declined from 0.7 to 0.6 per 1,000 and the number of births to this age group fell 5 percent to 6,405. The birth rate for older teens ages 18-19 is 73 births per 1,000 population - more than three times higher than the rate for teens ages 15-17 (22 per 1,000). Between 2005 and 2006 the birth rate rose 3 percent for teens aged 15-17 and 4 percent for teens aged 18 and 19.

The study also shows unmarried childbearing reached a new record high in 2006. The total number of births to unmarried mothers rose nearly 8 percent to 1,641,700 in 2006. This represents a 20 percent increase from 2002, when the recent upswing in non-marital births began. The biggest jump was among unmarried women aged 25-29, among whom there was a 10 percent increase between 2005 and 2006.

In addition, the non-marital birth rate also rose sharply, from 47.5 births per 1,000 unmarried females in 2005 to 50.6 per 1,000 in 2006 - a 7 percent one-year increase and a 16 percent increase since 2002.

The study also revealed that the percentage of all U.S. births to unmarried mothers increased to 38.5 percent, up from 36.9 percent in 2005.

The report contains other significant findings:

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