Teen Pregnancies Plummet Due to Higher Contraceptive Use

There was a drastic decline in teenage pregnancy in 2015 due to higher contraceptive use, according to a study published last month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study used survey data collected between 2011 and 2015 from a nationally representative sample of male and female teens, aged 15-19; the survey has been conducted annually since 1988 by the National Survey of Family Growth.

The teen pregnancy and birth rate dropped to 22.3 births per 1,000 teens in 2015, compared to a whopping 62 births per 1,000 in 1991.

The findings revealed that nearly all sexually active teens use contraceptives. Those who have had sex by the age of 18 mostly use condoms.

Decline in Teenage Pregnancy: Underlying Factors

Among females aged 15-19, 99.4 percent had reported ever using some form of contraceptive in 2011-2015, compared to 97.7 percent in 2002—and 80 percent in 1988. Additionally, there has been a significant decrease in the rate of sex among teens aged 15-19. Among males, 44 percent have had sex compared to 60 percent in 1988. For females, the rate dropped from 51 percent to 42 percent in that period.

“Teen sexual activity and contraceptive use are the direct mechanisms that lead to teen pregnancy,” Joyce Abma, one of the co-authors of the report, told Reuters. “So knowing how prevalent, how common, those behaviors are and how they differ according to different subgroups, demographically, helps policy makers and practitioners know where and how to apply intervention.”

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