As part of my series on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent National Survey on Family Growth, this article will focus on pregnancy and reproduction trends in the United States. My previous article examined some of the study’s findings on birth control use by teens, noting that condoms are the most popular form of contraception among those who practice safe sex and that there is a surprising portion of teens who would be pleased if they (or their partner) became pregnant. As we move into the realm of childbearing and data that focuses on slightly older participants, keep these attitudes and perceptions in mind. It is likely that the teens interviewed about birth control will predict future trends in reproduction.
Interesting Findings in Pregnancy and Reproduction:
- The U.S. teen birth rate has declined in the past two decades to roughly 42.5/1,000 in 2006-2008 (down from 61.8/1,000 in 1991). However, this rate is still nearly twice as high as any other developed country. The UK takes second place with a rate of 27 births in 1,000.
It should be noted that the U.S. rates in this study simply examine the numbers of women who carry a child to term and give birth. It does not include the many other women who become pregnant. Furthermore, these numbers are based on an incomplete set of data and only a fraction of the people interviewed for the NSFG. They do not account for the much higher teen birth rate seen in minority populations.
The NSFG found that teenage females are twice as likely to have a birth before reaching age 20 if they did not use a contraceptive method at their first sexual encounter, which seems to underscore the importance of education for teens on safe sex practices. Their findings also indicated that high instances of teen births are part of a self-perpetuating cycle. Young females whose mother had a birth before age 20 are more than twice as likely to also give birth while still in adolescence than those whose mother delayed childbearing until later in life.
We must learn from these disheartening statistics.