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Teen Birth Rates Reach Historic Low

Teen Pregnancy Rates Have Reached an All-Time Low

We don't know if it's a new sex ed curriculum or the horrifying reality of Teen Mom, but something is keeping girls from becoming mothers too soon. A new study finds that teen pregnancy rates have been on a steady decline since 1990, when rates were at their highest. Researchers from the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit reproductive health group, examined the teen pregnancy rates, birthrates, and abortion rates between 1970 and 2010. They found that between 1990 and 2010, pregnancy rates among women ages 15 to 19 years old dropped by 51 percent, with an additional 15 percent decrease between 2008 and 2010. Similarly, both birthrates and abortion rates dropped by 44 percent and 66 percent, respectively. Though the number of teen pregnancies in the US is still high — more than 614,000 teen pregnancies occurred in 2010 — the decline gives researchers hope that teens are smarter and safer about sex.

"The decline in the teen pregnancy rate is great news," says Kathryn Kost, the study's lead author. "It appears that efforts to ensure teens can access the information and contraceptive services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies are paying off."

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