(HealthDay News) – From 1991–2013 there has been a consistent decrease in U.S. teenage birth rates, according to a report published online August 20 by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Stephanie J. Ventura, from the NCHS in Hyattsville, MD, and colleagues describe trends in national birth rates for teenagers from 1940–2013, focusing on the period from 1991.

The researchers observed an overall decrease in the birth rate for U.S. teenagers, from a peak in 1957. There was a 57% decrease from 1991–2013. Rates decreased for all race and Hispanic ethnicity groups from 1991–2012, with the largest decrease for non-Hispanic black teenagers. In 2007–2012, the steepest decreases were seen for Hispanic teenagers. From 1991–2012 there were decreases in teenage birth rates in all states; and from 2007–2012, the rates declined in all but two states. As a result of decreasing rates, from 1992–2012 there were an estimated four million fewer births to teenagers.

“The declines in teen birth rates reflect a number of behavioral changes, including decreased sexual activity, increases in the use of contraception at first sex and at most recent sex, and the adoption and increased use of hormonal contraception, injectables, and intrauterine devices,” the authors write.

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