Teen birth rate plummets more than 30 percent in Minnesota

Minnesota's teen birth rate dropped 31 percent between 2007 and 2011.
Minnesota's teen birth rate dropped 31 percent between 2007 and 2011.

Our STD rate might be on the rise, but at least Minnesota's teens are having safer sex: Between 2007 and 2011, the number of teens giving birth in the state dropped by more than 30 percent.

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That number's from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report out yesterday, which shows a remarkable decline in teen births nationwide. The rates dropped at least 15 percent for all but two states during the four-year period. (One of the two outlier states is our neighbor, North Dakota, keeping good company with West Virginia. Neither state reported a significant change).

The country's rate overall plummeted by 25 percent, to a record low for teen births.

Minnesota's at the top of the pack. We're one of seven states in which the birth rate for 15-to-19-year-olds dropped a whopping 30 to 39 percent. The other leaders are Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and Florida.

Teen birth rate plummets more than 30 percent in Minnesota


While we're among the states with the greatest change, the lowest rates overall are on the East Coast, where New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont each report fewer than 17 births per 1,000 teens. In comparison, Arkansas and Mississippi each have a rate of about 50 per 1,000, and the country average is 31 per 1,000.

Here in Minnesota, the rate in 2011 was 19.3 per 1,000. That's down from 27.9 per 1,000 in 2007 -- or 31 percent fewer. Broken down by race and origin of the mother, the numbers are even more stark: In 2007, 91.6 of 1,000 Hispanic teenagers gave birth in Minnesota. By 2011, that number dropped by nearly half, to 48.5.

Experts are still working to explain to steep decline, which is likely a result of many different factors, the Associated Press reports. It is, though, in keeping with national trends -- teen birth rates have been falling since 1991, and the country's overall birth rate has been lower since the recession.

The CDC report also handily sums up why reducing the number of teen births is a good thing: "Births to teenagers are at elevated risk of low birth weight, preterm birth, and of dying in infancy compared with infants born to women aged 20 and over, and they are associated with significant public costs, estimated at $10.9 billion annually."

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