- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Babies born to teenage mothers reached an historic low between 2015 and 2016, with the birth rate continuously declining for mothers between the ages of 10 and 19 years old, according to new data released on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were 2,253 live *births to mothers between the ages of 10 and 14 years old in 2015 and 2016, which dropped from 8,519 births in 2000. This is a rate of 0.2 births per 1,000 females, down from 0.9 births in 2000.

Yet, birth rates high above the national average were observed in Louisiana, Mississippi, Delaware and the District of Columbia, which registered between 0.5 and 0.7 births per 1,000 females, compared to the national average.

Declines were further seen across all race groups, with the largest decline occurring among non-Hispanic black females.

In 2000, the rate of pregnancy for black girls was 2.4 per 1,000 females. That has dropped to 0.5 births per 1,000 females in 2016.

The largest drop in rates of pregnancy were observed in 13-year-old girls.

For teenage girls between the ages of 15- and 19-years old, the pregnancy rate dropped by 57 percent between 2000 and 2016.

A number of factors are contributing to the continued decline, the authors wrote, and include delayed initiation of first sex; decreased sexual activity; and for sexually active teenagers, the use of effective contraception.

The authors note that while the gap in birth rates based on race and location are narrowing, disparities continue to persist.

* (Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to a decline in teen pregnancy rates, but the study only examined birth rates.)

• Laura Kelly can be reached at lkelly@washingtontimes.com.

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