Teen Birth Rate Reaches Record Low
The Department of Health Services on Tuesday announced a record-low teen birth rate of 38.1 births for every 1,000 females ages 15 to 19 in 2004, KPBS' "KPBS News" reports. In 2003, 38.9 births were reported for every 1,000 females in that age group (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 8/3).
The decrease is the 13th consecutive year of lower teen birth rates in California and represents a 46.3% reduction in California's birth rate since its peak in 1991, according to the DHS report.
The report indicates that:
- Teen birth rates in 2004 decreased in 33 of 58 state counties, including eight of the 10 counties with the largest numbers of teen births;
- Kings County had the highest teen birth rate in 2004 with 71.1 births for every 1,000 females aged 15 to 19;
- Marin County had the lowest rate with 12 births per 1,000 females in that age group;
- Teen birth rates declined among all ethnic groups;
- Hispanic teens continue to have the highest birth rate, although the rate is declining; and
- Asian/Pacific Islander teens continue to have the lowest teen birth rate.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said that lower teen birth rates result in increased high school graduation rates, fewer children placed in foster care and reduced public assistance program costs for state taxpayers. DHS estimates that teen births cost California residents $1.4 billion annually (Eureka Times-Standard, 8/2).
The complete transcript of the KPBS report is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.