Teen Birth Rates Cut By More Than Half Since 1991, Experts Say ‘Teen Mom’ Helped

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The teen birth rates in the United States reached their peak in 1991, but a new study shows that over 20 years later, in 2012, the number of new teen mothers had been cut in half. And while there are many things that have contributed to this huge decline in teen pregnancies, some experts are saying that MTV franchises “16 And Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” have played a part in bringing that number down.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 61.8 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 in 1991, and in 2012, there were only 29.4. Further, the rates are down in every American state and across all racial and ethnic groups.

Bill Albert, the Chief Program Officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, told the Christian Science Monitor the shifts are connected to variables like more readily available contraceptives (IUDs, in particular), tough economic climates — which can dissuade young people from getting pregnant intentionally — and even the visibility of Maci BookoutKatie Yeager and other young mothers featured on “16 And Pregnant” and “Teen Mom.”

“It’s off-the-charts extraordinary progress,” Albert told the Monitor of the CDC’s findings. “And the pace of progress is accelerating.”

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