The rate of teen pregnancies in the United States is at an all-time low, according to data from the CDC. The organization’s research determined that more women are giving birth to their first children later in life, as an increasing birth rate for women in their 30s and 40s. The study also found that only about 230,000 women aged 15 to 19 gave birth in 2015, an 8% decrease from 2014. The birth rate for women at that age has fallen sharply for several years now.
Between 2013 and 2014, teen births fell 9%. The drops in this rate have been quite impressive over the past several years. Since 2007, the number of teen moms in the country has dropped by a total of 54%–impressive, despite the best efforts of shows like MTV’s Teen Moms. For women between 25 and 29, the birth rate has dropped off about 1% every year. However, the birth rate for women 30 to 34 has increased 5% since 2011, a sign that younger women are having fewer babies and older women are having more.
“There have been technological changes that make birth control easier and changes in women’s economic standing, which would be consistent with the notion that women want to delay and have better methods to delay,” says Phillip Levine, a professor of economics at Wellesley College.”
Additionally, 2015 saw the first rise in births overall nationwide since 2007. Now, there are 62.9 births for every 1,000 women between 15 and 44.
“The births to older women was enough to offset the decline in teen birth rate and you see this overall increase,” said Brady Hamilton, statistician and demographer at the National Center for Health Statistics. “In regards to the older women, this is kind of a continuation of a trend.” Cultural shifts may be responsible for the drop in birth rate for younger women, as well as medical advances, economic restrictions, and access to sex education.
Better yet, the rate of deliveries by C-section has also dropped 2% from 32.7% in 2014, the biggest drop in 20 years. Dr. Aaron B Caughey, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health and Science University, says that OBGYNs “have become more conservative about doing cesarean deliveries in the last four or five years because there is a more clear recognition of the risk for the mother both for current and future pregnancies.”