Wonkblog: Reproductive health

America’s teen birth rate is at a new low -- and still 10 times higher than Switzerland’s

Good news! Well, sort of: The United States’ teen birth rate has hit an all-time low -- but it is still double that of 20 other industrialized nations. Economists are trying to understand why.

First, the good news: In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, there were 34.4 births per 1,000 U.S. women ages 15 to 19., a 9 percent drop from the year before, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. American teen birth rates fell across all age and racial groups that year, indicating a widespread trend.

(The Center for Disease Control)

This an especially welcome development after the rate ticked upwards in the mid-2000s, leaving researchers wondering whether the big reductions in the 1980s and 1990s (in the chart above) were about to be reversed.

Now, the bad news: America’s teen birth rate dwarfs that of the other industrialized nations that were measured.

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