Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein
The teen birthrate reached another record low in 2000, continuing a trend that began in 1991, the federal government said yesterday.
The birthrate for teens fell to 48.7 births per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) said in its preliminary report on births in 2000. This represents a nearly 22 percent decline from 1991, when there were 62.1 births per 1,000 teens.
The decline is "very encouraging news," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said yesterday.
At the same time, the number of babies born to single women reached a new record high in 2000, the NCHS reported.
In 1999, 1,308,560 babies were born out of wedlock. In 2000, the number of out-of-wedlock births jumped to 1,345,917. The portion of all births to unwed women was 33.1 percent in 2000, a slight uptick from 33 percent in 1999.
Analysts have credited the lowering of teen birthrates to static or declining sexual activity rates, increases in contraceptive use and increases in abstinence education.
The rise in unwed childbearing has been traced to demographic trends, such as the growth in the number of single women of childbearing age, and changes in social mores, such a growing …