Monday, April 03, 2006

US Fertility II: Teenage Births

by Edward Hugh

One of the 'stylised facts' of the relatively high US fertility in OECD terms has been the level of adolescent pregnancy among some groups of the population. Well it is important to note that the importance of this component is decreasing. According to CDC produced Final Births Data for 2003 the teenage birth rate in the US fell 3 percent in 2003 to 41.6 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19 years. This in fact represented another record low for the US and the rate has now fallen by a full one-third since its 1991 peak of 61.8. The rate for females aged 10–14 years declined to 0.6 per 1,000, again a one-third decline since 2000. Birth rates for teenagers 15–17 and 18–19 years each fell 3 percent. The rate for ages 15–17 years was 22.4 per 1,000, 42 percent lower than in 1991, and the rate for ages 18–19 years was 70.7 per 1,000, 25 percent lower than in 1991.

According to the CDC report:

Declines in rates have been especially striking for black teenagers: their overall rate dropped 45 percent since 1991, whereas the rate for young black females 15–17 years has plunged more than half. Rate declines for all teenagers were substantial enough to more than compensate for the increased number of female teenagers, so that the number of births to women under 20 years dropped to the fewest since 1946, the first year of the baby boom.

Data for this post (including the graph) come from Births: Final data for 2003. JA Martin, BE Hamilton, PD Sutton, SJ Ventura, F … - National Vital Statistics Reports, 2005 -

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