National and State Patterns of Teen Births in the United States, 1940–2013

August 20, 2014

Teen childbearing in the United States has been declining for more than half a century. Except for a brief but steep increase in teen birth rates from 1986 to 1991 and smaller upturns during 1969–1970, 1979–1980, and 2005–2007, birth rates for U.S. teenagers have fallen since 1957. The birth rate in 2013, 26.6 births per 1,000 teenagers aged 15–19, was less than one-half of the rate in 1991 (61.8 per 1,000) and less than one-third of the rate in 1957 (96.3), when the United States rate was at its peak. The overall reductions in teen birth rates have been shared across all age groups, race and ethnicity groups, and states.

A new NCHS report presents trends from 1940 through 2013 in national birth rates for teenagers, with particular focus on the period since 1991. The percent changes in rates for 1991–2012 and
the for 2007–2012 are presented for the United States and for states. Preliminary data for 2013 are shown where available.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • Teen childbearing has been on a long-term downward trend, with only four exceptions since peaking in 1957. The rate in 1957 was 96.3 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19. The rate dropped almost one-third to 65.5 in 1969.
  • The rate then increased 4% in 1969–1970 (68.3) before resuming a decline that continued until 1979–1980 and again until 1986 (50.2). From 1986 through 1991, the birth rate rose 23%. Since 1991, the rate has fallen 57% and the decline has been continuous except for a 5% rise during 2005–2007.
  • The pace of decline accelerated from 2007 forward, with the rate reaching 26.6 per 1,000 in 2013, a drop of 36% from 2007.
  • The 2013 rate is less than one-third of the 1957 peak rate.



Teen Birth Rates Declining

May 23, 2013

A new report  from NCHS shows that teen birth rates fell steeply in the United States from 2007 through 2011, resuming a decline that began in 1991 but was briefly interrupted in 2006 and 2007. The overall rate declined 25% from 41.5 per 1,000 teenagers aged 15–19 in 2007 to 31.3 in 2011—a record low. The number of births to teenagers aged 15–19 also fell from 2007 to 2011, by 26% to 329,797 in 2011.

Births to teenagers are at elevated risk of low birthweight, preterm birth, and of dying in infancy compared with infants born to women aged 20 and over, and they are associated with significant public costs, estimated at $10.9 billion annually.  Recent trends by state and race and Hispanic origin are illustrated using the most current available data from the National Vital Statistics System.

For anyone interested in find getting a state-by-state ranking of teen birth rates and other health statistics please click here.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • Teen birth rates fell at least 15% for all but two states during 2007–2011—the most recent period of sustained decline; rates fell 30% or more in seven states.
  • Declines in rates were steepest for Hispanic teenagers, averaging 34% for the United States, followed by declines of 24% for non-Hispanic black teenagers and 20% for non-Hispanic white teenagers.
  • The long-term difference between birth rates for non-Hispanic black and Hispanic teenagers has essentially disappeared, and by 2011 their rates were similar.
  • Rates for Hispanic teenagers fell 40% or more in 22 states and the District of Columbia (DC); rates dropped at least 30% in 37 states and DC.

Percent change in birth rates for all teenagers aged 15–19, by state: United States, 2007 and 2011