There’s good news from researchers at the Guttmacher Institute. “Only” 7% of teens and “only” about 16% of sexually experienced teens got pregnant in 2008, the most recent year for which data is available.
It’s good news because the U.S. teen pregnancy rate continues to drop. Way back in 1990, the teen pregnancy rate peaked at 116.9 pregnancies per 1,000 teen females. That means 11.7% of all teens got pregnant that year.
Among sexually experienced teens — those who ever had intercourse — 22.3% got pregnant in 1990.
The teen birth rate and the teen abortion rate also went down:
4% of teens gave birth in 2008, down from the 1991 peak of 6.2%.
1.8% of teens had an abortion in 2008 — the lowest abortion rate since abortion was legalized and down from the 1988 peak of 4.35% in 1988.
From 1986 to 2008, the proportion of teen pregnancies ending in abortion dropped by a third, from 46% to 31%.
Why is the teen pregnancy rate dropping? According to a 2007 study, it’s mainly due to better use of birth control. Teens are using more effective forms of contraception.