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KBSI Perspective
A few decades ago, after spending about eight years teaching juniors and seniors in a high school classroom, I never thought I would see this headline…Teen Births Hit Historic Low, Half of 1991. In my last year of teaching, I was about to give up when in one class nine of 13 senior girls became pregnant in the school year. The principal stopped in and asked what was going on. I had no response. However, good news last week from the National Center for Health Statistics, the birthrate for teens has dropped 6% from 31.3 births per 1,000 teen girls in 2011 to 29.4 in 2012. Get this, it is the lowest teen birthrate since 1940 when the data on teen births started being collected. Of course, race and origin make a difference. Using 1,000 teens as a benchmark, Hispanics come in at 46.3, Blacks at 43.9, 34.9 for American Indian or Alaska Native, 20.5 for whites and 9.7 for Asian or Pacific Islanders. A professor of adolescent medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital was delighted at the drop. “I applaud the efforts of those working hard to educate and support family planning, delaying sex and effective contraception in adolescents, but we are not done. We still have almost three-quarters of a million teen pregnancies per year in the United States with over 300,000 births.” I lived through those tough times when pregnancy among teens kept on rising. Those young people really never had a chance. From the review of the latest statistics something is going right and I hope it continues.Low Birth Rates


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