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PEER PRESSURE

Teen pregnancies in the US have hit an all-time low—and are falling fast

By Akshat Rathi

Teen pregnancies are hard on mothers, children, and family. Fortunately, America at least is seeing fewer of them.

According to the latest report by the National Center for Health Statistics, teen pregnancies in the US have hit an all-time low. Compared to 2013, 10% fewer teenagers became pregnant in 2014. In fact, since 1990, the rates have more than halved.

Birth rates for females aged 15 to 19:

CDC

The reasons for the fall are many. Government investment in sex education seems to have finally started to pay off. More women are using long-term contraceptives, such as intra-uterine devices. Even popular TV shows, such 16 and Pregnant on MTV, are contributing. Other lifestyle changes among teenagers, such as drinking less alcohol and consuming fewer drugs, are probably helping too. Peer pressure and good education can go a long way.

CDC

On the flip side, as more women are entering the labor force, they are having children later in life.

The averages, however, mask the differences among races. The median age for the birth of the first child among black and Hispanic women is about 24, and that for white women is about 27.

Finally, according to the report, after six continuous years of decline, 2014 marked the first year when overall fertility rates rose. Just like the Fed’s interest-rate hike, rising fertility rates are sometimes considered an indicator that the economy is doing well.

Akshat Rathi
Senior reporter
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