Reasons why teen birth rates are at an all-time low

Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low
Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low

A new government report shows teen birth rates have fallen drastically in the past two decades and have even hit a record low.

The report, published Wednesday on the CDC website, shows teen birth rates took a 57 percent nosedive between 1991 and 2013. At the end of that period, American teens were less than one-third as likely to give birth as they had been in 1957. The decline was seen across all 50 states and all races and ethnic groups.

In fact, outside of a brief spike on the graph between 1986 and 1991, the report says teen birth rates have been steadily declining for nearly a half-century. So why such a big drop? Well, there are a number of theories.

Let's start with money. This 2011 Pew Research Center study shows a strong correlation between the birth rates for women of all ages and the overall ebb and flow of U.S. economy.

Pew also says "less sex, more contraception and more information" has helped sustain the downward trend.

Interestingly enough, a Brookings Institute study says reality shows like MTV's "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom" have played a huge role in bringing teen pregnancy to the public eye.

"We attribute 5.7 percent reduction in teen child bearing to the introduction of '16 and Pregnant' in June 2009. So, to be clear, that's a third of the decline in the overall teen child bearing we've seen for this period."

There are also a number of public health initiatives playing a role.

Colorado, for example, has seen a 40 percent drop in teen births over the past few years, which The Washington Post reports is being credited to a program that provides long-term contraception, like IUDs or implants, to young women.

As for the study itself, one expert on preventing teen pregnancy celebrated what he said were "eye-opening" stats with HealthDay. "These historic declines in teen pregnancy and births truly represent one of the nation's great success stories over the past two decades."

This video contains images from Getty Images.

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