Teenage birth rates fell 8 percent in a single year, from 2010 to 2011, the newest data shows. They've now plunged 25 percent since 2007 and they are down 49 percent since 1991, the federal government says.
Births to teen mothers are now at a record low in the United States, the National Center for Health Statistics reports in Monday's issue of the journal Pediatrics. The new rate: 31.3 births per 1,000 girls and women aged 15 to 19.
"There is lots of good news in the report," said Brady Hamilton, a statistician at the NCHS who led the study.
It's good news because such births are almost always unplanned and the parents are rarely ready to cope with the responsibility of raising a baby. Teenaged moms are also more likely to have babies of a smaller-than-healthy weight or to have stillborn babies.
The study looks at numbers alone and doesn't address changes in teen behavior. But other research suggests that teens are more easily able to get birth control, says Laura Lindberg, a senior researcher at the Guttmacher Institute.
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