California Teen Birth Rate Continues Sharp Decline
The teen birth rate in California decreased by nearly 60% between 1995 and 2012, from 62.9 to 25.7 per 1,000 young women ages 15-19, according to newly available data from kidsdata.org. Rates dropped in all counties during that time period.
Still, nearly 35,000 babies were born to teen mothers in 2012, and some counties still had rates nearly double the state average.
See teen birth data by county >>
These California data echo national trends, according to preliminary 2013 data recently published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The national birth rate for teens aged 15-19 declined 10% from 2012 to 2013, to 26.6 births per 1,000 young women; but 2013 teen birth rates at the state and county level are not yet available.
Children of teen mothers are more likely to be born prematurely or at a low birth weight, and they tend to have poorer academic and behavioral outcomes than children born to older mothers, research has shown. Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school or go to college compared to older mothers.
Teen births are estimated to cost society at least $9.4 billion annually, most of which is associated with negative outcomes for the children of teen parents, including increased costs for health care, foster care, incarceration, lost productivity, and tax revenue.
The decline in teen birth rates has been attributed to a number of factors, including increased Medicaid funding for family planning and teens using more effective forms of birth control.
While teen birth rates in California have decreased for all racial/ethnic groups, inequities remain. In 2012, the teen birth rate among Latina youth was 38.9 per 1,000, compared to 30.7 for African American/Black, 30.5 for American Indian/Alaska Native, 17.8 for multiracial, 10.1 for white, and 5.5 for Asian/Pacific Islander teens.
Read more about teen births in California, including policy implications>>
Teen Birth Indicators
Child Trends: Teen Pregnancy/Reproductive Health
No Time for Complacency: Teen Births in California, Center for Research on Adolescent Health and Development, Public Health Institute
Teen Pregnancy Prevention, California Department of Public Health
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
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Teen Births (1995 to 2012)