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ADOLESCENT CHILDBEARING

Between 2001 and 2002, the birth rate among adolescents ages 15-19 dropped 5 percent to 43.0 per 1,000 teenagers. This represents a historic low and a decrease of 30 percent since 1991. The birth rate among adolescents ages 10-14 also fell, to 0.7 per 1,000 teenagers.

Birth rates were highest among the oldest adolescents, those ages 18-19, at 72.8 births per 1,000. Birth rates among adolescents varied considerably by race and ethnicity. In 2002, birth rates for adolescents 15-19 were 18.3 per 1,000 Asian/Pacific Islanders, 28.5 per 1,000 non-Hispanic Whites, 53.8 per 1,000 American Indians, 68.3 per 1,000 non-Hispanic Blacks, and highest at 83.4 per 1,000 Hispanics. Although all racial and ethnic groups saw a decline in adolescent births in the past decade, the steepest declines have occurred among non-Hispanic Black adolescents. Between 1991 and 2002, the birth rate among Black adolescents ages 15-19 decreased by 42 percent. In the same time period, the birth rate among Hispanic adolescents fell the least, by just 20 percent, leaving Hispanic teens with the highest birth rate among the five racial and ethnic groups.

Graph: Birth Rates Among Adolescents by Race/Ethnicity of Mother: 1990-2002[d]

Graph: Birth Rates Among Adolescents by Race/Ethnicity of Mother: 1990-2002[d]