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October 8, 1997

State-Specific Birth Rates for Teenagers—United States, 1990-1996

JAMA. 1997;278(14):1143-1144. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550140035018

DURING THE late 1980s, birth rates for teenagers in the United States increased sharply. Although rates have declined steadily since 1991,1,2 age-, race-, ethnicity-, and state-specific rates have varied substantially. Despite recent declines, the U.S. birth rate for teenagers remains high compared with other industrialized countries. In 1996, an estimated 505,514 females aged less than 20 years gave birth; two thirds of births to teenagers are unintended.3 The adverse consequences of teenage child-bearing include increased poverty for both mother and child. This report presents state-specific birth rates for females aged 15-19 years for 1991 and 1995 and compares race/ ethnicity-specific birth rates for U.S. females aged less than 20 years for 1990-1996. These findings indicate that, during 1991-1995, birth rates among teenagers declined significantly in all but five states and the District of Columbia, and declines nationwide during 1991-1996 were especially large for teenagers aged 15-17 years