New York, NY — A new report out today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that births among Latino and Black teenagers have dropped by almost half since 2006.
The drop among Latino (51 percent) and Black (44 percent) teens is in line with national declines: Overall, births to U.S. teenagers have dropped more than 40 percent within the past decade. Yet despite this progress, today’s report shows that serious disparities persist in many communities:
- In some states, birth rates among Hispanic and Black teens were more than three times as high as those of white teens.
- Higher unemployment and lower income and education are more common in communities with the highest teen birth rates, regardless of race.
- In some states with low overall birth rates, pockets of high birth rates exist in some counties.
- Counties with higher teen birth rates were clustered in southern and southwestern states.
“We’re seeing historic lows in pregnancy and birth rates among U.S. teens, and this report shows yet again that we’re moving in the right direction,” said Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, Chief Medical Officer, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “It’s concerning, however, to still see stark disparities among teens of different ethnicities and in certain geographic areas. Some areas of the country, especially the South, are less likely to provide sex education that includes information on contraception — and we’re seeing politicians across the southern states attempting to block access to reproductive health care, including birth control and abortion. These policies have real consequences for all people, and often have a disproportionate impact on communities of color, who already face systemic barriers in accessing quality health care.”
As today’s report shows, the South and Southwest have some of the highest birth rates among teenagers. These disparities arise in part from the lack of access to quality and affordable health care and resources for every young person in the U.S., due to social and economic barriers which contribute to health inequities. The consequences extend beyond birth rates among teens; for example, sexually transmitted infections are also particularly prevalent in the southern U.S. The CDC has shown that adults and adolescents in the South are disproportionately infected with HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea.
“Access to quality health care and accurate information is a fundamental right for all people and shouldn’t depend on who you are or where you live,” said Dr. McDonald-Mosley. “We need to work to make access to sexual and reproductive health care and education easier for everyone—rather than increasing barriers that make access more difficult.
“High-quality sex education and access to family planning services—which means the full range of contraceptive options, including the most effective options like IUDs and implants—have been critical to helping teens stay safe and healthy. At Planned Parenthood, we’re committed to ensuring that all young people have the information and resources they need to prevent unintended pregnancy.”
Planned Parenthood is committed to helping teens stay safe and healthy. We work every day to reach teens with education about sexual health, communication skills, and relationships so they can make healthy decisions. As the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood works in schools and communities across the country to provide outstanding sex education programs. In 2014, Planned Parenthood provided education and outreach to 1.5 million people of all ages across the country.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
April 28, 2016