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New data shows Latina teen birth rates at lowest in two decades

LatinaLista — Finally, there’s some good news on the teenage pregnancy front. In a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), pregnancy rates among Latina teenagers, 15-19, are at their lowest “ever reported for this group in the two decades for which rates for Hispanic teenagers are available.”

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The Hispanic teen birth rate fell 10 percent in 2009, reversing an upwards trend. In fact, birth rates for all age groups under 20-years-of age declined.

There is one age group, and only one, that did register an increase in birth rates in 2009 — women aged 40-44.

Yet, there were other snapshots of women exposed that it just may be age that plays a bigger part in women determining whether or not they want a baby:

The total number of births to unmarried women declined for the first time since 1996-1997, falling about 2 percent from 1,726,566 in 2008 to 1,693,850 in 2009.

Increases in births to unmarried women during 2008-2009 were limited to age groups 30 years and older. Nonmarital births declined for teenagers and women in their twenties, the principal age groups for out-of-wedlock births.

The proportion of all births to unmarried women increased to 41.0 percent in 2009, up from 40.6 percent in 2008. This proportion increased for all race and Hispanic origin population groups except for American Indian/Alaska Native women.

From the data, it’s clear that the majority of new mothers are listening to their proverbial “biological clocks” and opting to have children whether or not they are married. The fact that less “non-marital” births are happening among teens and women in their twenties may mean, in the Latino community, that more Latinas falling into this age range may either be getting married, having abortions or not getting pregnant.

If the teens aren’t getting pregnant, then it would be interesting to see how many are entering the workforce or pursuing their degrees. Until it is known exactly what is happening with these young Latinas, the cause for celebration may be premature.

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