Teen Birthrate Hits Record Lows

By Rachel McKinney

November 7th at 5:28 PM

The national teen birthrate has reached a historic low, according to recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics. After a slight increase in the birthrate for teens aged 15-19 in 2006 and 2007, the rate has been on a steady decline, reaching a low of 22.3 births per 1,000 in 2015. Nearly 77 percent of all teen pregnancies are unplanned, according to a national survey from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The decline in the teen birthrate is likely due to a combination of a decrease in the amount of high schoolers having sex and a slight decrease in those not using contraception. The amount of sexually active teens dropped from 54.1 percent in 1991 to 39.5 percent in 2015 and those choosing not to use contraceptives has decreased slighty from 16.5 percent in 1991 to 13.8 percent in 2015, according to data from the U.S. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System. The YRBSS national survey contains data represetnative of 9th through 12th grade students in both public and private schools across the country. These trends in sexual behaviors can be seen in the above chart.

How Does Your State Compare?

Birthrate per 1,000 Ages 15-19 from 1991 and 2015

States 1991 2015

Source: NCHS- Birthrates for Females by Age Group

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Rachel McKinney

Rachel is a student journalist and web developer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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