U.S. teen pregnancy and birth rates are the lowest they’ve ever been, and more teens are using birth control and delaying sex altogether.
According to a new analysis released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), birth rates for black teenagers fell by 44 percent and those for Hispanic teens fell by 51 percent in the last 10 years. The overall birth rate among American teenagers is down by 40 percent.
“Access to high-quality sex education and contraception services have been so important in helping teens stay safe and healthy, decreasing teen pregnancy rates, and increasing the chances that teens will finish high school and college,” said Dr. Sierra Washington, Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest.
The CDC stresses that the overall birth rate (about 2.4 percent) is still too high and more action is needed. Teen pregnancy costs approximately $9.4 billion a year in taxpayer money.
The hope is that giving teens increased access to reproductive health services and effective contraceptives will reduce the rates going forward. However, certain areas of the country, such as the South, are less likely to provide sex education that includes contraception information. Some of these areas have the highest teen pregnancy rates.
Comprehensive sex education is supported by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and by a majority of Americans—including more than 90 percent of parents.
As the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood works in schools and communities across the country to provide sex education programs. Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest reaches approximately 40,000 young people through education each year and provides a support group for teen girls who are pregnant and/or parenting.
“Planned Parenthood is committed to helping teens make healthy and safe decisions regarding their body and health. Planned Parenthood works each day educating young people on topics around sexual health, communication, and healthy relationships,” said Chrissy Cmorik, Education Outreach Program Manager of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest.