The birth rate is the number of babies born to 1,000 women. The teenage birth rate has always been of interest. The babies born to teens tend to be poorer and less successful in school and life than other babies.
The news about teenage births is good, but could still be better. Overall the number of babies born to teens is down to 31 births per 1,000 teens aged 15 to 19. This rate is down from 42 births per 1,000 same-aged teens five years ago.
Even though Hispanic and black teen births have dropped dramatically, these youngsters continue to have rates twice as high as white teens. It is good news that in 22 states, Latina birth rates went down by at least 40 percent.
White teens have the lowest birth rate – about 22 births per 1,000. Black teens saw a larger improvement, but their rate was still 47 per 1,000. The Hispanic rate dropped from 75 per 1,000 to 49 per 1,000.
The lowest rates for all teens are in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, each with rates under 17 per 1,000.
The highest rates overall continue to be in the South. Arkansas and Mississippi each has rates of about 50 per 1,000. In Arkansas, the majority of teen births are to white moms. In Mississippi, the majority are to black moms.
Experts say a drop in cross-border activity is resulting in fewer young Hispanic women coming into the country. However, Hispanic birth rates are still very high in high immigrant states.
Experts also say the depressed economy is one reason why teenage birth rates are going down. And this matches a drop in all birth rates.
One expert concluded, “Credit goes to teens themselves who are clearly making better decisions about sex, contraception and their future.”