nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Drop In Teen Birth Rate In '09 Due To Economy?

I can't argue with the stats, but connections to the economy are speculative.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published its report on the number of teen births by year since 1957.

For those of you who might question that the highest rate was back in the 50's, it's important to remember that we're not talking single parent teens, but all teens.  And back then, women married younger, so many of their children's birth certificates will show them as still in their teens.  Women are marrying later in recent decades, and a teen birth nowadays is more likely to be to an unmarried female.

Here's the graph:

Here's the part I'm not sure about:
Experts say the recent recession - from December 2007 to June 2009 - was a major factor driving down births overall, and there's good reason to think it affected would-be teen mothers.  "I'm not suggesting that teens are examining futures of 401(k)s or how the market is doing," said Sarah Brown, chief executive of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.  "But I think they are living in families that experience that stress. They are living next door to families that lost their jobs. ... The recession has touched us all," Brown said.  (Assoc Press, Dec 21)
This interpretation fails to answer why the trend in falling teen births started twenty years ago.  Duh...

Nothing in the data source--birth certificates--tells why the rates are dropping.

The upward blip in the late eighties is interesting, too.  Remember the decade of one-night-stands?  On the other hand, abortion was legal during that period...and on the rise.

My guess is that the explosion in sexually transmitted disease since the 60's is playing a part, as is the ready availability of birth control to teenagers.

But, I have no data to support those hypotheses.

Doc D

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