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babyhand.JPGThe number of babies born to teenage mothers in California continued a years-long decline in 2012, and the birthrate also fell, according to a new report from the state Department of Public Health.

Between 2000 and 2012, the department reported, the number of births to mothers 15 to 19 years old declined from 55,373 a year to 34,921 a year, and the birthrate declined by about half. For those 15 to 17, the birthrate dropped from 26.5 per 1,000 girls in that age group to 13.1, and for those 18 and 19 years old, it dropped from 77.1 to 43.1.

The decline closely paralleled a national decrease in teenage motherhood and also was experienced in all ethnic groups, but significant differences among ethnic groups remained.

The birthrate among Latino teenagers dropped from 77.3 per 1,000 in 2000 to 38.9 in 2012, among whites from 22.3 to 10.2, among African-Americans from 59.1 to 30.8, and among Asian-Americans from 15 to 5.

The report also found wide disparities among the state's 58 counties, ranging from a low teenage birthrate of 10.1 per 1,000 girls in wealthy, suburban Marin County to a high of 53.7 in rural, largely Latino Tulare County.

PHOTO: Grandmother Oi Nguyen, of Stockton feels the hand of her granddaughter and Sacramento's 2014 New Year baby, Milan Le Dao. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.



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