Continuing a trend in California of nearly two decades, births to teenage mothers dropped again in 2009 , reaching a record low, Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today. There were 47,811 births to teens ages 15-19 in 2009, a reduction from the 51,704 births the previous year.
“Early teenage childbearing has been recognized to have negative consequences for adolescent mothers, their children, and society as a whole,” said Horton. “For all these reasons, achieving a record low teen birth rate in California is an important accomplishment.”
California’s teen birth rate declined from 35.2 births for every 1,000 teens in 2008 to 32.1 in 2009. In contrast, when teen births reached its peak in California in 1991, the teen birth rate was 70.9, more than twice as high as the rate in 2009.
While Hispanic teens continued to have the highest birth rate in 2009, they demonstrated the largest absolute reduction when compared to other major race or ethnic groups. The Hispanic teen birth rate dropped from 61.9 in 2007 to 50.8 in 2009, a striking decrease of 11.1 teen births per 1,000. African-American teens had the second highest birth rate at 40.5 in 2007. The rate for African-American teens dropped to 37.0 in 2009, representing a decrease of 3.5 births per 1,000. The teen birth rate for Asian/Pacific Islander teens fell from 10.9 in 2007 to 8.5 in 2009, while the rate for White teens declined from 13.6 in 2007 to 11.9 in 2009.
Despite California’s improvements in reducing births to teens, the state’s teen birth rate remains higher than the rate in many developed nations. The State of California continues to implement a number of programs aimed at preventing teen pregnancy. CDPH funds a variety of teen pregnancy prevention programs that include the Adolescent Family Life Program, Community Challenge Grant Program, the Information and Education Program and the Family PACT (Planning, Access, Care and Treatment) Program. The California Department of Social Services through the CalWORKs program supports the Cal-Learn Program and the California Department of Education funds the California School Age Families Education (Cal‑SAFE) Program.