The birth rate is lowest for younger teens (ages 15-17), Asians and Pacific Islanders, and teens living in the Northeast.
According to Pew Research Center analyst Eileen Patten, who relied on research conducted by the Pew Research Center, the Brookings Institution, and the National Center for Health Statistics, the steep decline in teen birth rates since 1990 may be driven by four factors:
- The economy: the Pew Research Center found a strong correlation between economic hard times and lower birth rates and showed that "birth rates for teens fell faster than they did for all females ages 15-44 from 2007-2012 (29% and 9% declines, respectively)."
- Less sex: data from the National Survey of Family Growth indicate that there has been a significant decline in the percentage of never-married teenage females who ever had sex, from 51% in 1988 to 43% in 2006-2010.
- More contraception: National Survey of Family Growth data also show that among never-married teens who have had sex, 78% used a contraceptive method the first time they had sex, 86% used contraception during their most recent sex and 20% used dual methods (e.g., a hormonal method and a condom) during their most recent sex, all significant increases since 1988.
- More information: pregnancy prevention programs and messages directed to teens may also have played a role, as shown in a new Brookings Institution paper that examined the impact of MTV reality TV shows "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom." According to the authors, these shows "led to a 5.7 percent reduction in teen births, which accounts for about one-third of the overall decline in teen births in the 18 months following the show's introduction in 2009."
Looking for data? ICPSR resources:
National Survey of Family Growth (http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/series/48)
Attitudes Toward Premarital Sex (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3125)
Gender and Racial Differences in Teens' Attitudes about Sexuality: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (http://www.teachingwithdata.org/resource/3445)