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U.S. Pregnancy Rates Drop, Thanks to Fewer Teen Moms

U.S. women are having fewer babies
Photograph by Getty Images/F1online RF

According to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American women are seriously cutting back on the number of kids they're having. In fact, between 2000 and 2009, American pregnancy rates dropped by 12 percent–which equals out to about 6.4 million pregnancies.

Most of this is due to the major dip in teen pregnancies, which reached historic lows in 2009. Compared to our major peak in 1991 (which saw a whopping 61.8 pregnancies for every 1,000 teens), 2009 had a 39 percent drop in teen pregnancies nationwide. At the same time, abortion rates (and most significantly, teen abortion rates) are also on the decline.

So what's behind it all?

The experts say young women seem to be waiting longer and are getting smarter about having sex. "Research suggests that more teens are delaying initiating sex, waiting longer to have sex," said Rachel Jones, a senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute.

Jones also added that "more teens are using more contraceptives and using more effective methods of contraception."

On the flip side, it looks like older women are also delaying the baby train: pregnancy rates for women 35 to 39 have spiked—jumping an impressive 30 percent.

“The expectation is that women in their 30s have considered career and education, delaying childbirth till their 30s, so they’re making a conscientious decision to become pregnant and have a baby,” Jones said.

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