Birth Rates For Teens Have Dropped Dramatically – Thank You Sex Education

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shutterstock_20489513__1369575106_142.196.156.251I was actually surprised to hear that birth rates for teens have dropped dramatically in the past 20 years. I guess I read too many Teen Mom stories. The statistics are very encouraging.

From Health Day News:

Overall, the rate of birth among teens aged 15 to 19 dropped by nearly one half from 1991 to 2011 — from about 62 births for every 1,000 teens to 31 births for every 1,000.

From 2007 to 2011, the most recent time period studied, rates fell 25 percent, from 41.5 to about 31.

During that time, rates fell at least 30 percent in seven states, and Arizona and Utah each saw a 35 percent drop, said Brady Hamilton, a statistician at the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics and a co-author of the report, which was released Thursday.

This is good news. The report cites that “experts attribute the declines to strong teen-pregnancy-prevention messages, increased use of birth control with the first sexual experience and the use of dual contraceptive method.”

Areas that are not placing as much of an emphasis on the importance of sex education and birth control are not experiencing as much of a dramatic decline. Think Progress reports:

Over the past decade, teen pregnancy rates have consistently been higher in Southern states that don’t provide students with adequate sexual health instruction. Since abstinence-only courses often present misleading information about contraception, a full 60 percent of young adults underestimate birth control’s effectiveness and are more likely to skip itbecause they don’t believe it will make a difference. And teens in rural areas still struggle to access contraception, partly because there are fewer health clinics in less populous places and partly because a societal stigma surrounding teen sexuality still pervades conservative communities.

Teaching teens to have sex responsibly doesn’t make the birth rate rise. Instead, it teaches them that there are consequences to their actions. With statistics like these, you can’t deny that access to birth control and sex education is making a difference for our youth. Now, if only all states could get on the same page, we’d really be getting somewhere.

(photo: marekuliasz/ Shutterstock)