The nation’s highest teen birth rate was in 1957, roughly 96 births per 1,000. Analysts pointed out that in the 1940s and 1950s, when the statistics were first kept, people married younger.
The statistics center also reported a drop Tuesday in births to unmarried teens, a record number of women receiving prenatal care and a rise in births by Caesarean section.
Last month, the CDC reported that the teen-age pregnancy rate fell 8 percent from 1995 to 1997 and has declined every year since 1991.
Even as they differed over why the teen birth rate has slowed, analysts said they hope teens would not tune out messages of responsibility. If the numbers continue to fall, they said, there could be fewer children living in impoverished homes with unprepared parents.
“Whenever we see good news on these social-issue fronts, people have the tendency to say, ‘We’ve solved this whole teen-birth problem. Time to move on to bicycle helmets,“‘ Albert said. “There’s too many kids turning 13 next year for us to get complacent.”