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Historic low Latina teen pregnancy rates send hopeful message

LatinaLista — It never made a whole lot of sense that while more Latinas aspired, went and graduated from college than their male counterparts, they still had the dubious distinction of ranking the highest among all girls when it came to U.S. teen pregnancy rates.


The obvious response is that some girls were getting the message and others weren’t. True. But now there’s proof that something must have filtered through to those other girls.

Today, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics released an analysis showing that pregnancy rates among Latina teens are at a historic low.

The 2008 teen birth rate fell for all racial/ ethnic groups, with the largest declines being seen among Hispanics and Asian/ Pacific Islanders. In fact, the rate for Hispanic teens dropped by 5% or 77.4 births per 1,000, the lowest rate ever reported for this group in the two decades for which rates are available.

While it’s definitely news to celebrate, as the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy pointed out, there is still a lot of work to be done to combat the message that getting pregnant is cooler than having a college degree — especially since:

At present three in ten girls in the U.S. get pregnant by age 20, there are more than 400,000 teen births annually, and this nation is in the unenviable position of having the highest rates of teen pregnancy and childbearing in the industrialized world.

What can be done to ensure that this downward trend is longterm?

The easy answer — more of the same.

The hard answer — more of the same.


Open lines of communication between parents and their girls is one of the keys identified by the National Campaign as effectively combatting peer pressure when it comes to early pregnancies.

Yet, talking about sex is the hardest topic to discuss in Latino households because of cultural attitudes, or it used to be. With teen pregnancies interjected into the storylines of shows such as telenovelas to teen family dramas, sex is a topic that is gaining more acceptance as an issue to discuss around the dining room table, or at the least between mother and daughter.

The drop in Latina teen pregnancies also indicates that more Latino parents may be taking off their rose-colored glasses and seeing the realities that surround their daughters by supplying them with condoms or birth control pills.

No one knows for sure why the sudden drop in Latina teen pregnancies but one thing is clear — the message is getting through that it’s much more desirable to walk across the stage shifting the tassle on a mortar board to shaking a baby’s rattle.

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  • cookie
    April 7, 2010 at 9:13 am

    I see two problems that contribute to the high teen pregnancy rate among Latinas. One is that it is a cultural and religious trait and the other is that they know that the government will take care of their kids and the more they have the more suppport that the mom collects which helps her financially also. It becomes a way of life. Of course this last problem applies to women of all ethnicities, not just Latinas but they may be the biggest offenders.
    There is one other one but it only applies to teens illegally in our country. They think by having a U.S. born child that it will be their ticket to remain here.
    Glad to see a decline in their birthrates but I would like to see what the real reason for that is because I think all of the above still apply.

  • Bill Michtom
    April 12, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Do you have ANY evidence to support what otherwise looks like ignorant bigotry?
    “I would like to see what the real reason for that is because I think all of the above still apply.”
    Here’s what the post says: “No one knows for sure why the sudden drop in Latina teen pregnancies …”
    For someone who presents ignorance and arrogance, but no reliable information, you are remarkably demanding of “facts.”
    Why don’t you come up with anything that will support your statements and then ask if you could get more information.

  • cookie
    April 14, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Facts aren’t ignorant bigotry and yes it would be interesting to know why their birthrates are supposedly dropping. Perhaps it is because many illegal aliens are leaving because of the economy and increased immigration enforcement?

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