Teen pregnancies in Minnesota plummet, experts can't explain nationwide drop overall


Between 2007 and 2011, Minnesota's teen pregnancy rate dropped nearly 30 percent, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released Thursday.

As City Pages reports, the Minnesota numbers are in concert with a nationwide trend, one in which only two states--West Virginia and North Dakota--didn't see a serious decline from the previous five-year period.

The country's rate overall plummeted by 25 percent, to a record low for teen births, according to City Pages, and Minnesota is one of seven states in which the birth rate for 15-to-19-year-olds dropped 30 to 39 percent. The other leaders are Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and Florida.

According to the CDC:

* Declines in rates were steepest for Hispanic teenagers, averaging 34 percent for the United States, followed by declines of 24 percent for non-Hispanic black teenagers and 20 percent for non-Hispanic white teenagers.

* Rates for Hispanic teenagers fell 40 percent or more in 22 states and the District of Columbia; rates dropped at least 30 percent in 37 states and DC.

Pretty staggering numbers. But, as the Associated Press reports, nobody really knows how they came to be. Experts believe the explanation is complicated and probably varies a bit from state to state. The national figure, which is culled from birth certificates, has been falling since 1991, aside from a brief interruption in 2006 and 2007.

"Geography, politics, or policy alone simply cannot explain the widespread declines," one expert tells the AP. "Credit goes to teens themselves who are clearly making better decisions about sex, contraception, and their future."

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