Last year, the teen birthrate dropped to the lowest level ever reported in the US. Increased use of birth control is one reason, and many say that parent-child dialogue is key.
Increased use of birth control, and, some say, other wide-ranging variables such as abstinence-only education and a poor economy, are playing key roles in driving the US teen birthrate to a record low, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics reported in November that the rate declined 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, with 34.3 births per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19. That marks the largest single-year drop since 1946-47 – and the lowest level ever reported in the United States.
Teenage birthrates have tracked a relatively steady downward trend since 1991, when the rate was 61.8 births per 1,000 teens. (The rates were 52.2 in 1981, 64.5 in 1971, and 88.6 in 1961.)
In a world dominated by an increasingly image-oriented and sexualized culture, what's afoot? What accounts for this abundance of caution? The answers depend upon whom you ask.
Take Elizabeth Reis and daughter Leah Reis-Dennis. They each used the word "embarrassing" to describe their first talk about birth control, which Elizabeth initiated about a month into Leah's relationship with a high school boyfriend.
But that unease quickly gave way to relief. Ms. Reis knew that her daughter, then 16 and a high school student in Eugene, Ore., was on the pill and being careful, and Ms. Reis-Dennis benefited from her mother's knowledge and support. Perhaps most important, they learned there was clear agreement between them – a baby was not an option.
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