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May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month: U.S. rate continues to drop

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While the teenage years are often a minefield of difficulties, particularly for young girls, recent statistics on the sharp decline in teenage pregnancy rates suggest teens are paying closer attention to the education efforts on sex that U.S. schools have beefed up in the last decade.

A recent study claims the rate of pregnancies per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 to 19 was 57.4 in 2010, representing a 15 percent reduction from the 67.8 percent recorded in 2008.

The study, conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, also shows an incredible 51 percent decline in the same age group from the peak number of teenage pregnancies reported in 1990.

"Other reports had already demonstrated sustained declines in births among teens in the past few years; but now we know that this is due to the fact that fewer teens are becoming pregnant in the first place. It appears that efforts to ensure teens can access the information and contraceptive services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies are paying off," said the report's lead author Kathryn Kost.

Additional information from the report included the birth rate among teens dropped by 44 percent from 1991 down to 34.4 per 1,000 in 2010, and the abortion rate among this age group decreased by 66 percent from 1988 down to 14.7 per 1,000 in 2010.

The study also found dramatic declines in teen pregnancy rates among all racial and ethnic groups. The teen pregnancy rate declined 56 percent among both non-Hispanic white teens (from 86.6 per 1,000 to 37.8) and among black teens (from 223.8 per 1,000 to 99.5) between 1990 and 2010, and by 51 percent among Hispanic teens (from 169.7 per 1,000 to 83.5) between 1992 (the peak for this group) and 2010. However, wide disparities persist, and rates among both black and Hispanic teens remain twice as high as the rate for non-Hispanic white teens.

Teen pregnancy rates showed a decline in all 50 states but substantial disparities remained between the states as New Mexico, Mississippi and Texas remained among the highest teen pregnancy rates while New Hampshire, Vermont and Minnesota showed the lowest rates.

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