May 22, 2020

Teen Births Once Again Fell Significantly

The teen birth rate in 2018 was less than half of what it was 10 years ago, according to figures just released.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics report that there were 179,871 births to mothers ages 15 to 19 in 2018, or 17 per 1,000 teens of that age range in the United States. In 2009, the figure was 38 per 1,000.

The drop from 2017 to 2018 was itself significant; the number of births in 2017 was 194,377, or 19 per 1,000 females. The reduction from 19 per 1,000 to 17 per 1,000 between those two years was the largest in percentage terms since 2013.

Most states saw teen birth rates drop

Between 2017 and 2018, the teen birth rate fell in every state except Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island and South Carolina; in each of those states, the rates held steady, although the state rate is already lower than the national rate in all of those except Missouri and South Carolina.

Teen births fell more dramatically in Puerto Rico between 2017 and 2018 than in any of the states, from 24 per 1,000 to 19 per 1,000.

Teen births are a key indicator of child well-being in the United States and are tracked in the KIDS COUNT Index found each year in the KIDS COUNT Data Book. Teens are at higher risk of delivering low birth-weight and preterm babies, and these children are more likely to be born into families with less educational opportunity and economic resources.