Births to teenage mothers have dropped to a record low in California, Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), announced today. In 2008, the rate of births among mothers ages 15 - 19 was 35.2 for every 1,000 females, a decline from the rate of 37.1 births in the previous year and lower than ever before. In California, 51,704 babies were born to teen mothers in 2008.
“While the continuing decline in the teen birth rate is encouraging and welcome news, teen pregnancy remains a public health challenge,” Horton said.
Since 1991, California has experienced a decline in teen births. The teen birth rate in 1991 was 70.9, more than twice as high as the most recent rate.
During the last 10 years, birth rates decreased among both younger and older teens. The decline was largest among younger teens. For teens ages 15 -17, the rate declined 39 percent from 31.1 in 1998 to 19.1 in 2008. The birth rate in the age group 18 -19 years declined 27 percent from 81.9 in 1998 to 59.6 in 2008.
Hispanic teens continue to have the highest birth rate. In 2008, however, the rate declined to 56.9 from a rate of 61.9 in the previous year. African-American teens had the second highest birth rate at 39.9, followed by Native American, 27.1; White, 13.1, and Asian/Pacific Islander, 9.6. Teens who reported multiple races had a birth rate of 29.0 in 2008.
CDPH administers a variety of teen pregnancy prevention programs, including the 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.