-- Survey Suggests Parents Most Influence Teens' Decisions About Sex
WASHINGTON --- The teen birth rate in the United
States increased 1% in 2007, according to data released today by the
National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). This is the second year in a row
that the teen birth rate has increased. The increase follows 14 years of
continuous decline in the teen birth rate. That is, after declining 34% between
1991 and 2005, the teen birth rate has now increased 5% between 2005 and
"The teen birth rate in the United States declined
dramatically in past years because of both less sex and more contraception,"
said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen
and Unplanned Pregnancy. "The teen birth rate is probably now going up for the
opposite set of reasons - some combination of more sex and less
A separate public opinion survey released today by The National Campaign to
Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy provides some guidance on what might help
to reverse the recent teen birth rate trend. Results from the
nationally-representative survey make clear that (1) when it comes to teens'
decisions about sex, parents are more influential than they think, and (2)
adults and teens view efforts that encourage teens to delay sex and that
encourage sexually active teens to use contraception as complimentary
not contradictory strategies. In particular:
-- Teens say parents (31%) most influence their decisions about sex -- more
than friends (18%), the media (7%), teachers and sex educators (3%) and others.
-- For their part, 43% of adults believe that friends most influence teens'
decisions about sex; only 24% of adults believe that parents are most
-- Fully 73% of adults and a plurality of teens wish that teens were getting
more information about both abstinence and contraception, rather than either/or.
NCHS data on changes in the teen birth rate between 2006 and 2007
-- The birth rate increased 1% for those aged 15-17 and 1% for those aged
18-19. The birth rate for those aged 10-14 remained unchanged.
-- The birth rate among Hispanic teens declined 2% and increased
2% for non-Hispanic whites, 1% for non-Hispanic blacks, and 2% for Asian/Pacific
-- The teen birth rate among Native American teens increased a dramatic 7%.
"The only good news is that the increase in the teen birth rate in 2007 was
less than the increase in 2006," said Sarah Brown. "Let's hope
that 2 years of an increasing teen birth rate reminds policymakers, parents, and
others that our efforts to help young people delay pregnancy and parenthood must
be more intense and more creative, and must rely on the very best research
available on what works."
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