NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Teen Pregnancy, Birth And Abortion Rates Fall

April 29, 1999

More U.S. teenagers appear to be getting and heeding the message that parenthood at an early age imposes a heavy price.

  • Data released by the Department of Health and Human Services show that births to teen girls in 1997 were 16 percent below their peak in 1991.
  • In 1997, births per 1,000 teens age 15 to 19 stood at 52.3.
  • If the trend continues, the teen birth rate will soon sink to the lowest in half a century -- which is the 1986 rate of 50.2 births per 1,000 teens.
  • In absolute numbers, there were fewer babies born in 1997 -- 3.88 million, nearly 500,000 of them to teenagers -- than in any year since 1987.

The report cited declining teen-age birth rates, coupled with the aging of the general population, as the reason the overall birth rate in 1997 dropped to a low of 14.5 births per 1,000 women -- the lowest rate since the government began keeping records in 1909. The previous low of 14.6 per 1,000 was recorded in 1975 and 1976.

By comparison, the overall birth rate in 1957 -- at the height of the baby boom -- was 25.3 per 1,000 women.

Sources: Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "U.S. Birth Rate at New Low as Teen-Age Pregnancy Falls," New York Times, and Cheryl Wetzstein, "Teen Pregnancy, Abortion Rates Down," Washington Times, both April 29, 1999.


Browse more articles on Government Issues