Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors: Fourteenth Report to Congress. Nonmarital Birth Risk Factor 3. Nonmarital Teen Birth Rates

09/22/2015

Figure BIRTH 3a.  Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 17 by Race: 1960-2012 

Figure BIRTH 3a.  Births per 1,000 Unmarried     Teens Ages 15 to 17 by Race: 1960-2012 

Figure BIRTH 3b.  Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teens Ages 18 and 19 by Race: 1960-2012

         Figure BIRTH 3b.  Births per 1,000 Unmarried          Teens Ages 18 and 19 by Race: 1960-2012

Note: Rates are per 1,000 unmarried women in specified group. Trends in non-marital births may be affected by changes in the reporting of marital status on birth certificates and in procedures for inferring non-marital births when marital status is not reported.  Beginning in 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the mother.  Prior to 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the child.

Race categories include those of Hispanic ethnicity.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Prior to 1969, race data were available for Whites and Non-Whites only.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940-1999,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 48 (16), 2000; “Births: Final Data for 2012,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 62 (9), December 30, 2013, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/nvsr.htm.


  • Figures BIRTH 3a and 3b show births per thousand unmarried teens between the ages of 15 to 17 and 18 to 19 from 1960 to 2012.  Table BIRTH 3 shows corresponding estimates for selected years between 1950 and 2012. 
  • The birth rate per thousand unmarried teens ages 15 to 17 decreased in 2012 for both Black and White teens.  The rate for Black teens ages 15 to 17 has been cut by more than two-thirds from 79.9 per thousand in 1991 to 22.0 per thousand in 2012. The 2012 rate is lower than in any other year since 1969, the first year in which data on Black women were collected.   
  • The birth rates of unmarried teens in the older age group (18 and 19 years) showed a decrease in 2012.  For Black teens ages 18 and 19, the birth rate fell from a high of 147.7 per thousand in 1991 to a low of 100.4 per thousand in 2003 before again decreasing to 73.2 births per thousand in 2012.
  • Prior to 1994, birth rates among unmarried White teens in both age groups rose steadily for over four decades.  For White teens 15 to 17 years of age, the birth rate increased from 3.4 births per thousand unmarried teens in 1950 to 23.9 births per thousand unmarried teens in 1994. Subsequently their rate has generally followed a downward trend to 12.4 per thousand in 2012.  For 18 to 19 year olds, the rate increased from 8.5 births per thousand unmarried teens in 1950 to 55.8 births per thousand unmarried teens in 1994.  Until 2008 their rate fluctuated between 50 and 54 but by 2012 had declined to 41.4 per thousand.
  • While birth rates among unmarried Black teens remain high compared to rates for unmarried White teens, the gap between Black and White teens narrowed during the 1990s and 2000s.

Table BIRTH 3.  Births per Thousand Unmarried Teen Women by Age and Race: 1950-2012

 

Ages 15 to 17
Ages 18 and 19

 

Year

All Races

White

Black

All Races

White

Black

1950

9.9

3.4

NA

18.3

8.5

NA

1955

11.1

3.9

NA

23.6

10.3

NA

1960

11.1

4.4

NA

25.0

11.4

NA

1965

12.5

5.0

NA

25.8

13.9

NA

1966

13.1

5.4

NA

25.6

14.1

NA

1967

13.8

5.6

NA

27.6

15.3

NA

1968

14.7

6.2

NA

29.6

16.6

NA

1969

15.2

6.6

72.0

30.8

16.6

128.4

1970

17.1

7.5

77.9

32.9

17.6

136.4

1971

17.5

7.4

80.7

31.7

15.8

135.2

1972

18.5

8.0

82.8

30.9

15.1

128.2

1973

18.7

8.4

81.2

30.4

14.9

120.5

1974

18.8

8.8

78.6

31.2

15.3

122.2

1975

19.3

9.6

76.8

32.5

16.5

123.8

1976

19.0

9.7

73.5

32.1

16.9

117.9

1977

19.8

10.5

73.0

34.6

18.7

121.7

1978

19.1

10.3

68.8

35.1

19.3

119.6

1979

19.9

10.8

71.0

37.2

21.0

123.3

1980

20.6

12.0

68.8

39.0

24.1

118.2

1981

20.9

12.6

65.9

39.0

24.6

114.2

1982

21.5

13.1

66.3

39.6

25.3

112.7

1983

22.0

13.6

66.8

40.7

26.4

111.9

1984

21.9

13.7

66.5

42.5

27.9

113.6

1985

22.4

14.5

66.8

45.9

31.2

117.9

1986

22.8

14.9

67.0

48.0

33.5

121.1

1987

24.5

16.2

69.9

48.9

34.5

123.0

1988

26.4

17.6

73.5

51.5

36.8

130.5

1989

28.7

19.3

78.9

56.0

40.2

140.9

1990

29.6

20.4

78.8

60.7

44.9

143.7

1991

30.8

21.7

79.9

65.4

49.4

147.7

1992

30.2

21.5

77.2

66.7

51.2

146.4

1993

30.3

21.9

75.9

66.2

52.0

140.0

1994

31.7

23.9

73.9

69.1

55.8

139.6

1995

30.1

23.3

67.4

66.5

54.7

129.2

1996

28.5

22.3

62.6

64.9

53.5

127.2

1997

27.7

22.0

59.0

63.9

52.9

124.8

1998

26.5

21.5

55.0

63.6

53.1

121.5

1999

25.0

20.7

50.0

62.3

52.9

115.8

2000

23.9

19.7

48.3

62.2

53.1

115.0

2001

22.0

18.1

43.8

60.6

52.1

110.2

2002

20.8

17.5

39.9

58.6

51.0

104.1

2003

20.3

17.2

38.1

57.6

50.4

100.4

2004

20.1

17.1

37.0

57.7

50.4

100.9

2005

19.7

16.8

35.4

58.4

50.9

101.6

2006

20.4

17.4

36.6

61.8

53.9

107.8

2007

20.8

18.0

36.3

63.9

55.9

109.1

2008

20.6

18.0

35.5

61.9

54.2

104.4

2009

19.3

16.9

32.6

58.2

51.1

96.8

2010

16.8

15.1

27.6

52.0

46.9

83.6

2011

14.9

13.4

24.7

48.2

43.4

77.4

2012

13.7

12.4

22.0

45.8

41.4

73.2

Note: Rates are per 1,000 unmarried women in specified group. Trends in non-marital births may be affected by changes in the reporting of marital status on birth certificates and in procedures for inferring non-marital births when marital status is not reported.  Beginning in 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the mother.  Prior to 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the child.

Race categories include those of Hispanic ethnicity. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940-1999,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 48 (16), 2000; “Births: Final Data for 2012,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 62 (9), December 30, 2013, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/nvsr.htm.

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