Fewer teens are having sex and those that do are more inclined to use contraception, resulting in teen pregnancies reaching historic lows, The Washington Post reports
In 2012, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the teen pregnancy rate fell to a low of 29 per 1,000 girls, down from 38 girls per 1,000 three years earlier. In 1991, a peak year, that figure was 62 per 1,000 girls. It has been marginally lower only once in the past 30 years
“It’s as if both sides in the debate over teen pregnancy were right,” said Andrew Cherlin, a Johns Hopkins sociologist, who noted that concerns over contracting HIV may have played a role in the increased use of condoms among teenage boys.
The National Health Center also reports
that pregnancy rates among nearly all age groups are down, with the lone exception being women over 30, whose rate has steadily increased each year.
The report examined pregnancy rates through 2009 because more recent abortion rates are not yet available.
From 1990 to 2009, pregnancy rates for white teens fell 51 percent, and 40 percent for black and Hispanic teens. In 1990, black teen pregnancy rates were 39 percent that of Hispanic teens, but the difference disappeared in the mid-2000s and then reappeared in 2006, according to the figures. Black and Hispanic teen pregnancy rates remain double those of white teens.
Abortion rates are also on the decline, at least through the 2009 time period of the study.
The number of abortions has dropped continuously since 1980, at least through 2009, the time period of the study. That year, the 18.5 percent abortion rate reflected a 32 percent drop from 1990, according to the study.
Sally Curtin, one of the report’s authors, said the historic drop is being driven by a long, downward trend of fewer teenagers having sex, and among those who do, a sharp increase in their use of contraceptives, the Post reports.
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