A new report on teenage pregnancy finds that birth rates for teenagers in the United States continue to fall since peaking in 1957, with Hispanic teens seeing the steepest declines in the teen birth rates over the last few years.
The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that nationally the birth rate for teenagers between the ages of 15-19 was 26.6 births per 1,000 in 2013. Thats down 57 percent from the rate of 61.8 births per 1,000 in 1991.
Teen birth rates have declined across all racial groups since 1991. But for the most recent period of 2007-2012, the steepest declines have been recorded among Hispanic teenagers. During that period, the birth rate for Hispanic teens fell by 39 percent. For other ethnic groups it fell between 25 percent and 34 percent.
When looking at the overall period of 1991-2012, the biggest declines in teen birth rates were recorded among Asian or Pacific Islanders (64 percent) and non-Hispanic blacks (63 percent).
The CDC report credits the overall decline in teen birth rates in the last two decades to numerous factors, including a decline in teenagers who are sexually active and an increase in the use of contraceptives.
Hispanics still have the highest teen birth rate
But even though the teen birth rate declined the most among Hispanics in recent years, Hispanic teens continue to have the highest birth rates in the country.
According to the CDC report, the birth rate for Hispanics between the ages of 15-19 was 46.3 births per 1,000 in 2012, the most recent year for which rates were available. Meanwhile, Asian or Pacific Islander teens had the lowest birth rate, with 9.7 births per 1,000.
Rates for other groups were 20.5 for non-Hispanic white teens, 34.9 for American Indian or Alaska Native teens, and 43.9 for non-Hispanic black teens.
The CDC report also looks at birth rates for Hispanic teenagers in various states. It shows that from 2007-2012, birth rates among Hispanic teens fell 30 percent or less in three states and declined 50 percent or more in nine states.
Compared to other developed countries, the U.S. teen birth rate remains as one of the highest. Only two other developed countries Bulgaria (41.7), Romania (35.2) have higher teen birth rates than the U.S.
The CDC report concludes that even though the U.S. continues to have a higher teen birth rate than other countries, significant progress has been made over the last two decades. And if progress had not been made, the report notes, an estimated 4 million more teen births would have occurred between 1992-2012.