The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

December 21, 2010
2009 teen births drop to record low

The birth rate for U.S. girls aged 15-19 fell to 39.1 births per 1,000 in 2009. That's the lowest it's been since recordkeeping began in 1940, says the Centers for Disease Control. Birth rates for teens of all ages, races and ethnic groups dropped to historic levels.

In its new preliminary report, the CDC also found the first decline since 2002 in total births to unmarried mothers. But since total U.S. births declined even more, the percentage of births attributed to unmarried mothers actually rose to 41.0 percent in 2009 from 40.6 percent in 2008.

Married or not, women in their early 20s showed a 7.0 percent drop in birth rate in 2009. It's the biggest decrease for that age group since 1973. The birth rate also fell for women in their late 20s and 30s, but increased for women in their 40s. 

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About The Public Eye

Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at: fraudsquad@sacbee.com.

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