Teenage Pregnancy Rates Are Out Of Control…

and pregnancy in highschool-ers is an epidemic! You hear people say it all the time, but do they really know what they’re talking about? Check out this chart I found today showing teen birth rates since the 1940s… 

Information & Image Courtesy of FamilyFacts.org

…probably not what you expected, huh? It definitely took me by surprise. It seems like the dominant assumption in the US is that teen pregnancy rates are currently out of control. However, something seems to be amiss in that idea. According to this data, which came from the National Center for Health Statistics, it would actually appear that the belief is flat out opposite of reality. The teen pregnancy rate is not, in fact, out of control and we may have just recently gotten it under control.

How much of this could be related to the fact that a lot people were married in their teens in and around the 1950s? Some of it can be attributed to that I’m sure, but definitely not all of it – we’re talking a drop of 57.2 per 1000 teenage females since the mid-1950s. That is HUGE. 

But look at the massive drop since 1991…that one definitely cannot be explained by marriage age, so what can we attribute it to? Decrease in abstinence only education? Better sex-discussions by parents (my mom suggested that one – good one mom)? Something else?

Some Facebook friends suggested abortion rates may have increased and skewed the data, but since abortion was legalized in 1973 abortion rates have actually been on a steady decline (especially in the teen age group).  

Information & Image Courtesy of FamilyFacts.org

I find this all very fascinating. Why is this generation considered so much worse than other generations? Why do people assume the pregnancy rates are drastically higher when they are actually drastically lower? It really makes you think about the things people say or assume on a daily basis. It seems like a lot of what we say in such a matter-of-fact manner may be based more on feeling than truly factual information.

I really want to hear from you. What did you think of these statistics? Did it surprise you? Does it make you want to smack your “babies-are-having-babies-and-your-generation-is-disgraceful” granny? Do you think most are under the impression rates have gone up because of the decrease in stigma surrounding the issue? Is there something simple I’m missing that explains it all? I’m so interested to hear y’alls opinions and ideas on this issue, I truly hope if you’re reading this you’ll share yours!