Birth Rate in Teens Hits Record Low: What's Behind Baby Bust? (Pictures)

teen, teenager, mom, mother, baby, istockphoto, 4x3
teen, teenager, mom, mother, baby, istockphoto, 4x3
The birth rate among U.S. teens hit a record low in 2009. (istockphoto)

(CBS) America's teens aren't making babies like they used to.

PICTURES: Teen Birth Rates: Which State Is #1?

In fact, the teen birth rate fell to a record low in 2009, according to a new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The decline is part of a broad trend that has seen the teen birth rate fall in 16 out of the past 18 years.

In 2009, the birth rate among fell to 39.1 births per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19, according to the report. It was based on data collected in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

What explains the baby bust among teens?

One likely explanation is the economy, CDC statistician Dr. Bradley Hamilton, tells CBS News. "Children are very expensive, and the argument is that in these tough economic times, people for the most part are delaying births," he says.

Whatever the cause, Hamilton is heartened by the decline. "This is good news," he says. "Delaying having children allows young women the opportunity to focus on education and enter the workforce without the additional challenges of parenthood."