Photo by Torsten Silz/AFP/Getty Images.
The CDC reported Tuesday that teen births fell 9 percent in 2010, to 34.3 births per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19, the lowest rate since such records were first tallied in 1940.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the numbers reflected a general downward trend in recent years, with the overall teen birth rate down 44 percent over the past two decades. Nearly every state reported a drop in the year-over-year numbers, including a 29 percent dip in Arizona. The highest rate remains in Mississippi, with 55 births per 1,000 girls, or more than 47 percent above the national average.
The CDC cited an increase in pregnancy prevention programs aimed at teens as a factor in the enduring decline. The Times points to a recent survey showing an uptick in the use of contraceptives among teens, while the Wall Street Journal notes that some experts have suggested the economy is a deterrent.
Encouraging though the numbers seem, the Washington Post points out that U.S. teen birth rates remain the highest by far in all industrialized nations, more than triple the rates of countries like France and Germany.
Below are the states with the highest teen birth rates; the complete list is here.
1. Mississippi 55
2. New Mexico 52.9
3. Arkansas 52.5
4. Texas 52.2
5. Oklahoma 50.4
6. Louisiana 47.7
7. Kentucky 46.2
8. West Virginia 44.8
9. Alabama 43.6
10. Tennessee 43.2