(CBS) Teen pregnancy is down, way down in America, but teens in this country are still getting pregnant at rates that dwarf the rest of the developed world.
That's according to a new Centers for Disease Control report, which found teen birth rates dropped 37 percent over the last two decades and are now at a record low. But the agency says it's still not nearly good enough. Teen birth rates in America are up to nine times higher than many other developed countries. We find ourselves nestled between Bulgaria and Romania on the issue.
What's the big deal? Education for one. Only 50 percent of teen moms get a high school diploma by the age of 22, according to the CDC. That's compared with 90 percent of teen girls that don't give birth. Money is also a factor. The agency estimates that teen births cost taxpayers $9 billion each year.
There were around 400,000 teen births in 2009, the last year for which the agency has released data. Hispanic and black teens were two to three times as likely to be teen moms as whites. Geography also played a role.
Northeastern states had the lowest teen pregnancy rates, while some southern states still struggle. See our
For parents worried about the issue, the CDC has a few tips.
- Get to know the parents of your teen's friends and be involved with what's going on in their lives.
- Talk to community leaders about the need for effective programs that prevent teen pregnancy and address overall sexual and reproductive health.
More at the CDC's teen pregnancy site.