Teen Birth Rates in Calif. Fall to Record Low in 2010, State Data Show

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Teenage birth rates in California decreased to a record low in 2010, according to data released by the state Department of Public Health, U-T San Diego reports.

State health officials have said that teen pregnancy is associated with higher rates of maternal and infant complications and death.

DPH Data

According to DPH, California's 2010 teen birth rate was 29 births for every 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19, down from 32.1 births per 1,000 teens in 2009 and 35.2 births per 1,000 teens in 2008.

The data show that teen birth rates also have declined among ethnic groups. According to the data, the:

  • Hispanic teen birth rate -- still the highest among ethnic groups -- fell to 45 births per 1,000 teens in 2010 from 50.8 births per 1,000 teens in 2009;
  • Black teen birth rate decreased to 34 births per 1,000 teens in 2010 from 37 births per 1,000 teens in 2009;
  • White teen birth rate fell to 11 births per 1,000 teens in 2010 from 11.9 births per 1,000 teens in 2009; and
  • Asian/Pacific Islander teen birth rate decreased to 7.3 births per 1,000 teens in 2010 from 8.5 births per 1,000 teens in 2009 (Lavelle, U-T San Diego, 3/20).

Reasons for the Decline

Public health experts said the decline in teen birth rates is the result of teen pregnancy prevention programs, as well as heightened awareness.

Ron Chapman -- director of DPH -- said, "The continuing decline in teen birth rates underscores the importance of teen pregnancy prevention programs in California.” He added, “We must continue our work to achieve yet another milestone next year” (Gorman, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 3/20).

Broadcast

On Tuesday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reported on the state's teen birth rate data (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 3/20).

Mary Ziegenhagen
When -- and why -- were 11- through 14-year-old girls dropped from this count. It's important.

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