Birth rates for all American teenagers are down 40 percent since
2006, thanks in part to prevention programs that address
socioeconomic conditions such as unemployment and lower education
levels, the CDC said.
But officials said the U.S. teen birth rate was still too high,
especially for minorities, and more work was needed.
The annual survey shows the continuation of a downward trend that
began in 2006 and continued through 2014, the latest year of
complete data, when nearly 250,000 babies were born to girls and
women aged 15 to 19.
The birth rate of 24.2 per 1,000 women in this age group is down 9
percent from 2013 and the lowest among 15- to 19-year-olds since
1940, the CDC said.
For black teens the 2014 rate was 34.9 per 1,000 and for Hispanics
it was 38.0.
"While reasons for the declines are not clear, teens seem to be less
sexually active, and more of those who are sexually active seem to
be using birth control than in previous years," the CDC said.
Still, officials said the rates were too high.
According a report published last year by the Journal of Adolescent
Health, the United States had the highest teen pregnancy rate among
21 counties with complete statistics, with 57 pregnancies per 1,000
females from 2008 to 2011. Switzerland had the lowest rate at 8 per
In some American states, birth rates for black and Hispanic teens
were more than three times higher than the rate for whites, the CDC
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"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.
With teenage birth rates varying widely in different regions, state
and local officials have used data specific to their areas with
greater efficiency, the CDC said.
"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, lead author of the CDC analysis, said in the statement.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by David Gregorio)
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