Black females teens are not having nearly as many babies as they did about a decade ago. According to a new study released on Thursday by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Black teen pregnancies have dropped nearly 50 percent since 2006.
Here are the two main reasons why:
Theories on the reasons for the dramatic shift include everything from new approaches to sex education to the widespread availability of broadband Internet. But most experts agree on the two major causes, as reported by the Washington Post:
The first is the most important and may be obvious: Today’s teens enjoy better access to contraception and more convenient contraception than their predecessors, and more of them are taking advantage of innovations like long-acting injectable and implantable methods that can last years over a daily birth control pill. But the second cause is something that goes against the conventional wisdom. It’s that teens — despite their portrayal in popular TV and movies as uninhibited and acting only on hormones — are having less sex.
“There has been a change in social norms that has happened in the past 20 years, and the idea of not having sex or delaying sex is now something that can be okay,” said Bill Albert, chief program officer for the National Campaign To Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Veronica Gomez-Lobo, director of pediatric gynecology at Children’s National Medical Center, said the trend of abstinence has been mostly among younger teens rather than older ones. While there’s not good data on why this is happening, she thinks of it as a “contagion” factor. So many teens are waiting to have sex, she suggests, that the peer pressure goes the opposite way than it might have in the past.
“We think this is a very healthy trend,” Gomez-Lobo said.
The decline in birthrates has been going on for most of the past decade but appears to be accelerating. The issue has been important to President Obama, who in 2010 launched a $110 million initiative to scientifically validate prevention programs that work and to replicate them throughout the country.