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Turnaround in Teen Birth Rate -- It’s Up

December 12, 2007

St. Paul, MN – It's a disturbing trend, according to teen advocates. New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the teen birth rate is rising, for the first time since 1991. Minnesota teen advocate Brigid Riley, with the Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention and Parenting, finds the numbers surprising.

"The teen pregnancy rate went up last year, and that's the first time that has happened in 14 years. We don't know yet if it's a trend, but the fact that it increased by that much is alarming."

Riley adds a three percent increase is "significant." Teens who have children may find their own education interrupted, which means lower incomes. As for their children, research shows they may not get the best parenting; they also can face health consequences, and might not be developmentally ready when it's time for them to start school.

Riley says a 'multi-faceted' strategy to reducing teen pregnancy is best.

"Science-based approaches to teen pregnancy-prevention include information about abstinence as well as information about how to protect oneself from pregnancy, HIV, and STDs. That includes quality information that can be shared through programming, through school curricula, and through faith communities. The point is that it is comprehensive in nature."

The study also finds unmarried childbearing reached a new record last year, increasing by eight percent and putting the total of all births to unmarried mothers at 38.5 percent.

Jim Wishner/John Robinson, Public News Service - MN