Study says: Teen Pregnancy Dipped to Record-Breaking Lows in '09
Yep, believe it or not, the U.S. teen pregnancy rate, which was on the rise for years (and didn't seem to be losing any steam, last time we checked), has finally started to dip. In fact, the latest report by the CDC claims that it's the lowest it's been in 70 years. Curious what's behind the dramatic drop? Looks like that may be up for debate...
The first reports we heard credited the economy and the effects of the recession for making teens think twice about having babies. Then came the claims that we have MTV's 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom to thank -- apparently, for scaring the bajeezus out of teens across America and inspiring them to either abstain altogether or (more likely) learn a thing or two about contraception first. (Honestly, as addicted as we are to them, those shows scares the bajeezus out of us too; so maybe it really has had a big impact...) But according to other experts, another big factor could be the drop in immigration we've seen in the last few years.
If you want a definitive answer on this one, though, seems like you'll have to wait. The study doesn't seem to answer some pretty obvious questions: namely, are teens actually having less sex now, or are they just protecting themselves better? Plus, the abortion rate isn't cited at all in the report, which may in fact have risen.
One other interesting (though not-so-surprising) tidbit to come out of the study: the rate of women 40-44 conceiving rose by 3%, the highest it's been since 1967. (Though when we read this little factoid, we were more surprised it had been that high in the sixties. Just us?) The study also found that c-section rates show no signs of stopping (they now make up 33% of all births), women having babies in their 20s has dropped by 7%, and thankfully, the preterm birth rate is on the decline the third straight year.
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