Speculating on Why U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Rates Are at Historic Lows


The Centers for Disease Control issued a new report which finds that the rate of teen pregnancy in the U.S. has fallen to the lowest level since 1946. In 1946 most teen moms got married. Of course, increased availability of contraception is likely to have had something to do with this decline. And for some reason, fewer teens are actually having sex. The crappy economy also likely contributes to this trend. In any case, see the CDC chart below.

CDC Teen pregnancy Chart 2012

Could it also be that the post-welfare reform trends identified in the chart from the Center for Budget Priorities and Policy below might be having some effect as well? 

Cash welfare trends

Just wondering. 

NEXT: Ronald Bailey on Natural Poverty and Why Nations Fail

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  1. I blame porn and Axe Body Spray.

    1. Axe Body Spray.

      Smells like piss and gasoline…

      And strangely enough I noticed my 70+ year old dad is using it.


      1. piss and gasoline sounds like the right fragrance for a septuagenarian.

        Does he have a toolshed where everything is piled on one table and covered in grease (the greasy aroma filling the shed)?

      2. I kind of thought it smelled like bug spray.

        1. Raid Wasp spray.

    2. Blame? This is a key step in the slight possibility we avoid Idiocracy.

      Next step: cloning the issue of Tom Brady und Gisele-whats-her-fuck

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  2. I blame Bush.

    And global warming.

    1. And plastic soda bottles that leech away our purity of essence.

      And immigration.

      And the designated hitter.

      1. We were a great country before the DH.

        1. The DH is a useful tool for knowing which teams you can safely ignore.

          1. Fuck Bud Selig for forcing my Lastros into that abomination.

      2. And fried chicken. Don’t forget to blame fried chicken.

        1. transfats

          1. ugly, ugly, fat teenagers

    2. Less unwanted children means less child abuse. Credit belongs to the practice of sodomy.

      1. Consignment to oblivion isn’t child abuse?

      2. Bill Clinton?

        And the definition of ‘is’.

  3. Internet porn, video games, and lazy boys not willing to do the work necessary to achieve actual sex in combination with the availability of the first two items.

    1. What would Adam Smith say about the last item? Something about clearing the market?

      1. Twice a day in some cases.

        1. I can’t get my head around the idea that there are young guys too lazy to have sex, even though I used to work with a young woman who complained about exactly that with her husband. In my single days I had a blast with all the willing young women. The thing that finally stopped me was falling in love.

          1. Not too lazy to have it, too lazy to put in the work to go find a willing young woman.

            Course it doesn’t help that all those willing young women are too busy arguing on twitter over whether Team Jacob or Team Edward (ir is it Team Gale or Team Peeta these days) is better to go out and find willing young men either.

    2. video games

      Actually girls make up over 50% of the video game market.

      Blame Farmville and facebook for all the fat girls who don’t put out.

      1. Without fat girls, teenage boy virginity would be a plague of near universal proportions.

        1. The horror! I was lucky enough to catch the interest of a neighbor. A very freckly Scottish girl a couple years older than me. She changed my young life.

        2. The horror! I was lucky enough to catch the interest of a neighbor. A very freckly Scottish girl a couple years older than me. She changed my young life.

      2. Without fat girls, teenage boy virginity would be a plague of near universal proportions.

        1. Actually, I suspect fat girls is a big reason for teenage boy virginity.

          That, feminism, and the puritanical laws enacted by the liberals has a lot of American males avoiding American females, period.

  4. I would also include the “success” of feminism in pushing women to put off traditional relationships and focus on their careers. I’d be interested in seeing if the decline listed above is correlating at all with the increase in women attending four colleges.

    Knocked up at 17 pretty much kills the whole med school dream.

    1. Nope sorry, those are the ones still putting out.

      1. Yeah, but Mom is an ardent feminist thus the precious little angel was on birth control at age 14.

        Thus, plenty o’ sex, no babies.

        1. Nope, try 12

  5. I note that the current decline really set in right around the time President Clinton educated our yutes that blow jobs aren’t really sex.


    1. Who said Clinton was no role model?

      1. gotta agree with you on this one…

    2. Exactly. Easier access to blow jobs I’m thinking is the answer.

  6. There goes the GOP “welfare mother” talking point.

    And the values candidate is now gone. Romney will have to campaign on his bad health insurance law as governor.

    1. Make no mistake, Romney will now “become” a values candidate. Or something.

      And just because teen pregnancy has gone down doesn’t mean 20 something pregnancy has too. So no, “welfare mother” is still a retarded ass talking point for republicans.

    2. Actually “welfare mother” hasn’t really been a GOP talking point since the mid 90’s precisely because the welfare reform enacted back then was largely so successful.

  7. Because Hispanic women are holding out?

  8. Laptop computer radiation is neutering the boys – no sperm, no baby.


  9. Laptop computer radiation is neutering the boys – no sperm, no baby.


    1. Radiation: How the fuck do they work?!

      1. Well, apparently.

  10. I read an article about this earlier today, that then went on to complain that in fact, despite the decrease, we still have much higher rates than other western, industrialized countries.

    Them blamed…wait for it…income distribution and poverty. They compared states within the US, such as NH compared to MS, and, shocker, poor states have much higher rates than relatively wealthier states. So the answer, of course, is more socialism.

    1. Or let the South secede again and not fight the fuckers over it.

      1. next problem…what to do when all the blue northern states ask to be in the new confederacy?

        1. I’d say turnabout is fair play, but after we burn all their cities we can let them go because – hell, we don’t want them.

  11. I’m sure the blacks and Mexicans are the reason it isn’t at 0

  12. The nation has aged and therefor teens are older and more responsible now….

    or something

  13. The internet has created a spank-bank that dwarfs Gringotts. The boys just don’t have reason to try so hard with real girls anymore.

    1. Girls, too. I was at an all-girls hs & the internet was basically my only option for anything. High school boys are raging, immature morons.

  14. Oral and anal, that’s why.

  15. Incentives. How do they work again?

  16. They are all saving themselves for Bieber, that’s why.

  17. Obviously, teenagers just aren’t having sex anymore. Duh.

  18. Yo Ron, your chart says nothing about teenage pregnancy – it says birth rates. So between contraception and abortion, you would have to expect that unplanned, unwanted pregnancies are mostly removed from the equation. Now you are down to the part of the population that wants to be pregnant to term at that age.

  19. SugarFree spayed Warty

    1. I feel that my actions were tough, but fair.

  20. Because Sondra Fluke was able to get free birth control for all sexual active women despite the GOP war on women!

  21. If I would hazard a real guess, I would say kids are sharper than adults give them credit for. I’d wager the smart ones who were born to out of wedlock teen-moms with no Dad around have been saying to themselves “No way am I going to be like my parents parent.

    1. what a stupid-ass. Could have been king of Arky, at least the royalty wing not named Walton, for the next quarter-century. Girl is pretty good-looking though, but Bobby always gave teh impression of someone too pissed off to have sex.

      1. Somebody on ESPN’s threads said she looked like she could suck a tennis ball through a chain-link fence.

        Maybe I’ve been gone from the south too long, byt WTF does that mean?

        1. I’m still in the south and not too sure, but she is not bad-looking. And she is about half Petrino’s age. Why can’t Nick Saban have that type mid-life crisis?

          1. Why can’t Nick Saban have that type mid-life crisis?

            What coed would want to fuck the devil himself?

            1. The devil says fuck you too sloopy:)

            2. you make a good point but a similar question could be posed about Petrino. He always had the look of someone who stepped in something.

              1. A lot of these young girls want a sugar daddy to take care of them. He definately has the cash to do that.

                1. and now, he’ll have some extra time for her, too. Wonder if she’ll get to keep the job Bobby gave her.

            3. What coed would want to fuck the devil himself?

              These two perhaps?

        2. It basically means that she looks like she would give good head. She should be careful with that though ’cause she has a hell of a set of chompers on her:) Looks like a young Ann Coulter.

      2. Is there some benefit to being king of Arkansas?

        1. Hey, it’s better than…


          *scratches head & ponders*

  22. Abstinence education worked!

  23. Note that 18 & 19 year olds (adults) are included to give the appearance of high underage pregnancy rates. Rates among those adults have fallen to a third in the last 50 years, which is where most of the decrease comes from. Under 18 rates have never been that high and fallen from ~40 per 1000 to ~20 per thousand.

    If the adult ages are lumped in because they’re “teenagers” too, why were fourteen year olds omitted? Selective framing to push a certain outcome.

  24. I was going to say it’s because teenage girls aren’t putting out anymore,but then I realized that I had more sex when I was 18-19 than I’ve had 20-23.

  25. Let’s talk about UNWED pregnancies. Why are out of wedlock births at historic highs?

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