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MN's Teen Birth Rate Falls Eight Percent

April 11, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Teen birth rates in the United States have dropped to an all-time low, newly released statistics show.

The rate of teen-aged mothers giving birth dropped by 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to the report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Judith Kahn, executive director of Teenwise Minnesota, says the state reported a similar drop.

"Birth rates among adolescents age 15 to 19 have decreased nearly 8 percent - and this is across the board with all young people, regardless of race and ethnicity - so, this really is a wonderful bit of news."

Nationally, 34 girls per 1,000 ages 15 to 19 gave birth in 2010. In Minnesota, the figure was 23 per 1,000, the nation's eighth-lowest rate.

Kahn cites multiple reasons for fewer teen births, including the availability of better education and more accurate information on sexual health, which she says leads most youths to make better choices.

"Young people are having less sex, which is great. And those who are choosing to have intercourse are using more contraception, and they're using it more effectively."

Work remains to be done, Kahn says, especially regarding the racial divide reflected in the teen birth rates.

"The disparity between white young people and young people of color is dramatic. Especially in Minnesota among Latino and Native American young people, the rates are really cause for concern."

Teen birth rates for minorities in Minnesota generally are three to six times higher than the rate for white teens.

More information is online at cdc.gov/nchs.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN