Press release


January 16, 2020

(Washington, D.C.) — The U.S. birth rate, among females aged 15-19, declined by 72% since peaking in 1991. The decline marks another record low according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In part, the historic declines in teen birth rates may be attributed to the combination of improved access to and consistent use of birth control, according to research.

“We are delighted to see teen birth rates continue to decline because of what it means for young women across the country,” said Colleen Crittenden Murray, Senior Science Officer, Power to Decide. “We know that when young people have access to resources and information, they also have the power to decide if, when and what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child.”

The historic declines include:

  • 72% decline in teen births between 1991 and 2018
  • 58% decline in teen births between 2007 and 2018
  • 7% decline in teen births between 2017 and 2018

“Despite the dramatic declines in teen birth rates, progress is not victory. Disparities still remain. Birth rates among Hispanic and Black teens are still almost double that of whites,” continued Murray.

Per the report, declines in birth rates for teens between 2017 and 2018 among all racial/ethnic groups, include:

  • 15% decline among non-Hispanic Asian teens
  • 10% decline among non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native teens
  • 8% decline among non-Hispanic white and Hispanic teens
  • 4% decline among non-Hispanic Black teens

Research from the Guttmacher Institute has supported that increased access to and consistent use of contraception have helped to contribute to the historic declines. Despite that, the current administration has instituted rules that impede this access.  As a result of the domestic gag rule, at least 900 clinics have been forced to leave the Title X Family Planning Program responsible for providing free or low-cost contraception and related services to people most in need. More than 19 million U.S. women of reproductive age in need of publicly funded contraception live in contraceptive deserts or counties without reasonable access to the full range of contraceptive methods.

“The current administration’s efforts to limit access to contraception have only served to exacerbate the lack of access for low income women and must be reversed,” Murray said.  “As such, we will continue our work in order for all people—regardless of who they are or where they live—to live their best life.”

Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to ensure all people—no matter who they are, where they live, or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Please visit us at www.PowerToDecide.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.