Good news taxpayers. Teens are wising up and using contraception, which has led to a dramatic drop in the teen birth rate. The 57 percent drop is credited with an estimated four million fewer births, and it has saved the U.S. government billions.
Researchers at the CDC say the declining teen birth rate is broad-based, with the rate dropping in all 50 states and among all ethnicities. In the report, researchers are estimating that the government saved $12 billion in 2010 alone. Teen mothers are more likely to need various forms of assistance, including Medicaid and food stamps.
The rate of teen pregnancy is now one-third under the historic high set in 1957. The rate in 1957 was 96.3 out of 1,000 teenage girls becoming pregnant. That compares to a rate of 26.6 in 2013.
Bill Albert, chief program officer at The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy is throwing the credit to contraception and possibly less sex. Hey, adults saying teenagers are making smarter decisions. Kids, screenshot this and send it to your parents. I’d say print it out, but who really buys a printer anymore?
Albert went on to comment on the boost this has on graduation rates among teenage girls. “We know, for instance, that only about 40 percent of teen mothers ever graduate from high school. Translate that number – 4 million fewer births – into a much, much lower high school graduation rate, and think about the prospects for those young women in this day and age and in this economy. It’s pretty sobering.”
He continued to toss out credit, even lauding MTV. Albert said shows like ‘Teen Mom’ are probably scaring kids back onto a smarter path. I’m with him on this. If anything it makes you not want to have a kid, it’s that show.
In what will be sure to make people happy, abortion is not playing a factor in this steep decline, according to lead author Stephanie Ventura. No matter which side of the political aisle you are on, that’s heartening news.
As for where we stack up among developed countries, we still lead the pack. The closest is the U.K. with 21.8 pregnancies. Other countries, such as Japan, Denmark and the Netherlands all have rates under 5 per 1,000 girls.
So, there is still work to be done with broader sex education to help kids make informed decisions.