Teen birth rates higher in US

The current US rate is 42 births for every 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19, while the overall rate for developed countries is 21 per 1,000, the internationally-known non-governmental research organization, Population Reference Bureau (PRB), reported.

Noting the especially high teen birth rate among the US Hispanic population, the PRB's Linda A Jacobsen called for special attention to be focussed on the country's increasingly diverse youth population in terms of education and training.

"By 2050 almost 40 percent of the population will be Hispanic. The ability of this increasingly diverse youth population to obtain education skills and secure employment will be critical to the US's future economic growth and our ability to meet the challenges of an aging population," Jacobsen said.

The US teen birth rate compares to that of the United Kingdom, with 24 births per 1,000 girls. Italy and Japan have only 5 per 1,000, Jacobsen said.

The US rate dropped by one-third to 40.5 from 1991 to 2005, but data from 2007 suggested a reversal of this trend, the report said.

US government data from 2007 showed the birth rate among Hispanic teens in the US to be 81.7 per 1,000 girls.  The rate for African-American teens was 64.3 and the rate for non-Hispanic whites was 27.2, according to the Center for Disease Control and
Prevention.

Teen pregnancy in the US often leads to high-risk pregnancy, lower educational achievement, unemployment and poverty. These risks are amplified by the aging US population and the changing demographic.

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