Black Teen Birth Rate Falls 60 Percent in 10 Years

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A new report by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention shows that the teen birth rate for African Americans has declined by 60 percent between 1991 and 2011 – a rate 10 percent greater than the overall dip in teen birth rates.

Over the past decade, the national teen birth rate has declined from 31 out of every 1,000 girls between 15-19 giving birth in 2011, compared to 61 girls per 1,000 in 1991.

From 2007-2011, the national teen birth rate declined by 25 percent with Hispanic teens experiencing the largest decline of 34 percent. In 2007, the Hispanic teen birth rate was 21 percent higher than the Black teen birth rate, in 2011 it was only four percent higher.

Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, attributes these declines to stronger teen pregnancy prevention education and higher rates of contraception use among teens that have sex, but also the fact that many teens are deciding to delay sex altogether.

“We know that schools play an essential role in supporting adolescent health,” Koh wrote in a blog post on Huffington Post.com. “Research tells us that the longer children remain in school and engaged in learning, the better their life-long health.”

Teens who have babies in high school, on the other hand, are less likely to attend or complete college, are more likely to rely on public assistance, and are more likely to live in poverty into adulthood, according to Koh.

The majority of states saw a significant decline in birth rates—with 34 states across the Southeast, Midwest, and Southwest reporting declines in the Black teen birth rate by at least 20 percent.

Read the rest at The Louisiana Weekly