Compadre High School student Jackie Perez, 18, talks to her son Jacob while other students board the bus from Compadre High School in Tempe, Ariz., Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008. Last year, the Tempe Union High School District was able to offer girls who are in the Teen Age Pregnancy Program transportation. The school bus driver shortage that has swept metropolitan Phoenix has hit the program and is affecting not just pregnant teens, but also teen moms.

Latina teen pregnancy rates as well as overall U.S. teen pregnancy rates have declined sharply. (AP Photo/East Valley Tribune, Thomas Boggan)

Latina Teen Pregnancy Rates Drop Sharply

Latina teen pregnancy rates have dropped 37 percent between 1992 and 2008, according to a new study by the Guttmacher Institute.  In 2008, only 7 percent of all American teenage girls between the ages of 15 to 19 became pregnant, the lowest rate in more than 30 years. 

“We are ecstatic about the recent data release today by the Guttmacher Institute,” says Ann Marie Benítez, Senior Manager of the Latino Initiative at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Almost all of the decline in the pregnancy rates among 18-19-year olds “was attributable to increased contraceptive use,” according to the report, which states that a wide body of research supports this conclusion.  Among 15 to 17-year-olds, three quarters of the reduction in teen pregancy was due to increased contraceptive use, and one quarter was due to less sexual activity, the study found.

Benítez adds “we truly applaud all teens including Latino teens for adopting a less sex, more contraception strategy.”

Teen abortion rates also went down sharply, the study found. These were the lowest rates since abortion was legalized, and almost 60 percent lower than in the late 1980s.

The study’s authors found, however, that Latina teens still had twice as many teen births – as well as abortions – than non-Hispanic whites.

“Latinas still face a significant disparity in teen pregnancy rates and much more work needs to be done.”  says The National Campaign’s Benítez.  She adds, however, the report is good news for the Latino community.

“Today’s news is evidence we can move the numbers in the right direction, and that teen pregancy is in fact a problem we can solve,” Benítez says.

%d bloggers like this: