CDC: Teen birth rates plunge, but racial disparities persist

Photo: WKRN

NEW YORK (AP) – Birth rates are falling dramatically for black and Hispanic teenagers, but they continue to be much higher than the birth rate for white teens.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hispanic teen birth rate fell by half over about eight years, and the black teen birth rate dropped nearly that much. But even with those declines, the white teen birth rate is still only half as high.

The teen birth rate has been falling since 1991, which experts attribute to more teens using birth control and more waiting until they are older to have sex. But in the new report, the CDC focused on 2006 through 2014 – the most recent phase of the decline, when the fall was steepest.

The agency saw declines in every state and in every racial and ethnic group.

Arkansas, Mississippi and New Mexico have the highest teen birth rates. Each state sees more than 40 births to teen moms per every 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19. Massachusetts and New Hampshire have the lowest, at 11 per 1,000.

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