(CBS/AP) NEW YORK – Teen births fell again in the United States to historic lows, according to a new government report.
The U.S. teen birth rate declined 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, falling to 34.3 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19, its lowest point since record-keeping began in 1940. Fewer babies were born to teens in 2010 than in any year since 1946.
Declines were registered across all racial and ethnic groups.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously reported that U.S. births by mothers of all ages had dropped in 2010 for the third straight year. Experts think the economy is a factor.
The CDC report on teenage mothers released Tuesday focused on state figures. There were declines in 47 states and the District of Columbia from 2007 to 2010, with the biggest drop in Arizona at 29 percent. Rates in Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia stayed about the same.
The highest rate once more was in Mississippi, with 55 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19, though its rate has also continued to fall, dropping 21 percent over three years.
New Hampshire has the lowest teen birth rate in the nation – just under 16.
Teen birth rates tend to be highest in the South and Southwest, lowest in the Northeast and Upper Midwest.
Since 1991, the overall teen rate has dropped by 44 percent.
The authors of today’s report attribute the declines to strong pregnancy prevention messages aimed at teens. They also point to data from the National Survey of Family Growth (conducted by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics) which shows increased use of contraception at first initiation of sex and the use of dual contraceptive methods (i.e., condoms and pill) among sexually active female and male teenagers.
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