Teen Pregnancy Rates Hit Historic Lows, CDC Finds

PHOTO:A pregnant teen is pictured in this undated file photo. Getty Images
A pregnant teen is pictured in this undated file photo.

Teen pregnancy rates continue to drop throughout the U.S., and have reached a new historic low, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were 24.2 live births per 1,000 teens between the ages of 15 to 19 in 2014, according to the report in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. This represents a 61 percent decrease from 1991.

"The United States has made remarkable progress in reducing both teen pregnancy and racial and ethnic differences, but the reality is, too many American teens are still having babies," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement today. "By better understanding the many factors that contribute to teen pregnancy we can better design, implement, evaluate, and improve prevention interventions and further reduce disparities."

From 2006 to 2014, the teen birth rate declined 41 percent overall. The decrease was the largest among Hispanics, with a 51 percent drop (38 live births per 1,000 teens in 2014), followed by a 44 percent drop among African Americans (34.9 live births per 1,000 teens in 2014), and a 35 percent drop among whites (17.3 live births per 1,000 teens in 2014.)

While the lower teen pregnancy rates were noted nationwide, the researchers highlighted states where teen pregnancy remained a persistent problem. In Nebraska, rates among African Americans (42.6 per 1,000) and Hispanics (53.9 per 1,000) far exceeded national rates. In Arkansas, the teen birth rate remained far above the national average at 41.5 per 1,000.

"These data underscore that the solution to our nation's teen pregnancy problem is not going to be a one-size-fits-all -- teen birth rates vary greatly across state lines and even within states," Lisa Romero, a health scientist in CDC's Division of Reproductive Health and lead author of the analysis, said in a statement.

"Together, we can work to implement proven prevention programs that take into account unique, local needs," Romero said.

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