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Birth rate among Hennepin County teens drops significantly

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The birth rate among teenage girls in Hennepin County is on the decline for the fifth consecutive year, WCCO-TV reports.

Hennepin County officials say the number of births given by women ages 15-19 dropped to 692 in 2011 from 1,170 in 2007.

The report follows a report last month, where from 2007-2011, the teen birth rate plummeted 30 percent in the state and 25 percent nationwide.

According to Hennepin County officials, the downward trend is credited to sex education programs, targeted and specialized health care, youth services, leadership opportunities and programs.

"This is positive progress towards ensuring that the county's young people are growing into healthy, self-reliant adults, able to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals," the county said in its report.

The report also noted that the decline in the birth rate has saved Hennepin County taxpayers an estimated more than $21 million.

The county said despite the drop, teen pregnancy is still a "critical issue."

They noted that children born to teenage mothers" have higher risks for infant death, childhood health problems, cognitive and emotional delays, school struggles, teen parenthood themselves and prolonged poverty," and teen parents "tend to have less education and are more likely to live in poverty than their peers who are not teen parents."

The county also said pregnant teenagers are at higher risk of health problems than pregnant women who are older, and teen mothers are more likely to drop out of school.

Read more of Hennepin County's teen pregnancy study here.

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