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Teen birth rate reaches new low in California

Teen birth rate reaches new low in California

POSTED March 20, 2012 10:17 p.m.

The efforts to reduce the teen birth rate in California continue to show success with the state recording a new low for the last year analyzed.
The California Department of Public Health reports that the teen birth rate declined in 2010 to 29.0 births for every 1,000 females ages 15 to 19 years, from the rate of 32.1 births in 2009.
"Teen pregnancy has been a long-standing public health challenge associated with increased maternal and infant morbidity and mortality," said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the CDPH. "Early teenage childbearing has been recognized to have negative health and social consequences to adolescent mothers, but we must continue to work together if we are to reduce the state's teen birth rates even further."
The teen birth rate has steadily been declining since 1991, when it reached a record high of 70.9 births.
Teen birth rates also declined in all major racial/ethnic groups. Teens age 18-19 experienced a decline of 9 percent, from 53.5 in 2009 to 48.6 in 2010, and teens age 15-17 saw a drop from 17.5 to 15.2, representing a 13 percent reduction. While Hispanic teens age 15-19 continued to have the highest birth rate in 2010, they demonstrated the second highest decline at 11 percent between 2009 and 2010. Hispanic teen birth rates dropped from 50.8 in 2009 to 45.0 in 2010. African-American teen birth rate was 37.0 in 2009; it dropped to 34.0 in 2010, representing a decrease of 8 percent. Asian/Pacific Islander teens and White teens had reductions of 14 and 8 percent, respectively.

California's teen population appears to be leveling-off, however changes in its composition can influence the teen birth rate. In 2000, nearly equal proportions of female teens were Hispanic (39 percent) and White (38 percent); by 2010, Hispanics comprised 47 percent and Whites 33 percent.
The state report found 19 counties with higher averages than the state, including many Central Valley cities. Over the 2008 to 2010 time period, Stanislaus County had an average of 36.7 teen births, placing it in the 18th spot. San Joaquin County came in at 17th with a teen birth rate of 37.4. Merced County had the ninth highest teen birth rate at 47.5. All three counties were considered to have statistically significantly higher teen birth rates when compared to the state rate.

California continued to implement a number of programs aimed at preventing teen pregnancy. California administers programs that offer comprehensive and diverse approaches to address the cultural and individual factors influencing behavior, particularly directed toward population subgroups exhibiting high teen birth rates. Locally, the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency sponsors the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaborative, which is a coalition of local stakeholders with the mission of decreasing teen pregnancies through education and outreach.

The CDPH funds a variety of teen pregnancy prevention programs that include the Information and Education Program, the Adolescent Family Life Program, and the Family PACT (Planning, Access, Care and Treatment) Program. In 2011, CDPH was awarded a Personal Responsibility Education Program grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration to focus services in 19 counties in California with teen birth rates that have consistently remained higher than the statewide teen birth rates.

"The continuing decline in teen birth rates underscores the importance of teen pregnancy prevention programs in California," said Dr. Chapman. "We must continue our work to achieve yet another milestone next year."



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