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A new report provides some encouraging news on teenage pregnancies.

Birth rates are falling dramatically for Black and Hispanic teenagers, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last Thursday.

The recent drops among Blacks and Hispanics look more dramatic because they started at a far higher rate than other ethnic groups.

The Black teen birth rate fell by 44 percent — from 62 to 35 for every 1,000 births for Black girls age 15 to 19 from 2006 through 2014 — according to the CDC. The Hispanic teen birth rate fell by 51 percent — from 77 to 38 births for every 1,000 Hispanic girls ages 15 to 19 — during that same time period.

For White teens, their birth rate fell 35 percent, from 27 to 17 for every 1,000.

But even with those declines, the White teen birth rate is still only half as high, according to the CDC report.

“Despite this historic progress, profound disparities remain,” said Bill Albert, chief program officer for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

The teen birth rate has been falling since 1991, which experts attribute to more teenagers using birth control and more waiting until they are older to have sex. But the new CDC report, which focuses on 2006 through 2014, notes the most recent phase of the decline, a period when the fall was its steepest.

The agency saw declines in every state and in every racial and ethnic group.

Arkansas, Mississippi and New Mexico, which are states with high concentration of poverty, have the highest teen birth rates. Each has more than 40 births to teen moms for every 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19.

Massachusetts and New Hampshire, which have lower poverty rates, have the lowest rates, at 11 for every 1,000.

About 4 million babies were born in the United States in 2014. Of those, about 250,000 were born to mothers ages 15 to 19.

The new report shows the combined approach of more birth control and more abstinence until an older age is having an effect on helping teens from having unwanted pregnancies.

http://www.phillytrib.com/commentary/encouraging-news-on-teenage-pregnancies/article_be250261-8871-5a25-b5ea-3d102993926a.html

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