Teen Births Once Again Fell Significantly in 2018

Posted May 22, 2020
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Updates teenpregnancy 2020

The teen birth rate in 2018 was less than half of what it was 10 years ago, accord­ing to fig­ures just released.

The U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion and the Nation­al Cen­ter for Health Sta­tis­tics report that there were 179,871 births to moth­ers ages 15 to 19 in 2018, or 17 per 1,000 teens of that age range in the Unit­ed States. In 2009, the fig­ure was 38 per 1,000.

The drop from 2017 to 2018 was itself sig­nif­i­cant; the num­ber of births in 2017 was 194,377, or 19 per 1,000 females. The reduc­tion from 19 per 1,000 to 17 per 1,000 between those two years was the largest in per­cent­age terms since 2013.

Most states saw teen birth rates drop

Between 2017 and 2018, the teen birth rate fell in every state except Mary­land, Michi­gan, Mis­souri, New Hamp­shire, New Jer­sey, New York, North Dako­ta, Rhode Island and South Car­oli­na; in each of those states, the rates held steady, although the state rate is already low­er than the nation­al rate in all of those except Mis­souri and South Carolina.

Teen births fell more dra­mat­i­cal­ly in Puer­to Rico between 2017 and 2018 than in any of the states, from 24 per 1,000 to 19 per 1,000.

Teen births are a key indi­ca­tor of child well-being in the Unit­ed States and are tracked in the KIDS COUNT Index found each year in the KIDS COUNT Data Book. Teens are at high­er risk of deliv­er­ing low birth-weight and preterm babies, and these chil­dren are more like­ly to be born into fam­i­lies with less edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ty and eco­nom­ic resources.

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