Teen Birth Rate Declines to Record Low in U.S.

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Perhaps Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2 are becoming obsolete? The birth rate among teenagers hit a record low in 2012, government research shows.

There is evidence that a trend of more effective means of birth control is a factor, according to the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC.

Watching Farrah Abraham and Jenelle Evans can't hurt, either.

The birth rate among young women ages 15 to 19 fell 6 percent last year, to 29.4 births per thousand, the lowest rate in the 73 years of data collection.

The decline was across all racial and ethnic groups.

The 2012 number was a significant drop and follows fairly sizable declines since 2007, when the rate was 41.5 births per thousand young women ages 15 to 19.

In fact, except for a small uptick between 2005 and 2007, the teen birth rate has been steadily declining since 1991, when it reached 61.8 births per thousand.

The data used comes from the birth certificate that parents must complete at the hospital and it provides a wealth of information regarding demographics.

But to figure out why exactly the teen birth rate is falling, researchers have to rely on extensive surveys, and the results are much harder to pin down.

There is not much evidence of a change in abortion use and not much change in sexual activity, according to analysts, meaning birth control may be up.

Or better, or better used.

While condom use increased substantially in the 1990s and early 2000s among high schoolers, it actually declined slightly after that, according to the CDC.

At the same time, medical professionals have increasingly been recommending the IUD, a small, plastic device that is inserted and left inside the uterus.

While it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, the IUD can be used in combination with a condom, which does offer such protection.

Beyond teens, the birth rate for American women in their early twenties also declined in 2012, to a new record low of 83.1 births per 1,000 women.

Birth rates rose for women in their late thirties and early forties.

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