The downward trend on teen birth rates in the U.S. took another step last year, falling by 10 percent to a historic low.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the most recent drop, the teen birth rate is now down nearly 60 percent since hitting its peak in 1991.
Stephen Emmert, chief operating officer at Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, calls the progress amazing.
“Particularly when you compare that with 1991, I think that it shows that once again, we need to provide our young people with information and when we do, they make better decisions,” he said.
While the teen birth rate has dropped significantly in all 50 states over the past 20-plus years, state-specific 2013 numbers for Tennessee are not yet available.
The analysis also shows progress among younger and older teens, and among all racial and ethnic groups.
Emmert said he expects that will continue as more people gain health coverage.
“One of the things we’ll see is we’ll continue to increase access to health care and information and those will help keep this number in a downward trend,” he said. “But we as a community, as a country, need to make sure that we are doing everything we can to increase that access.”
The birth rate for women in their early 20s also declined last year to a historic low, while the rates for those in their 30s and 40s increased as more women are delaying motherhood.