|December 14, 2000||Illinois Teen Births by County, 1998-1999|
ILLINOIS TEEN BIRTHS FALL TO 40-YEAR LOW
SPRINGFIELD, IL The percentage of births to Illinois teenagers last year dropped to the lowest level in 40 years, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, announced today.
Of the 182,027 births to Illinois women in 1999, 12.0 percent, or 21,833, were to girls 19 years of age or younger, down from 12.4 percent (22,632) in 1998 and the lowest since 11.7 percent was recorded in 1959. This is the fifth consecutive year that the percentage of teen births has declined.
"These statistics are a testament to the progress we have made in this state to reduce teen births," Governor George H. Ryan said. "It appears teens are getting the message that postponing sexual activity is the right thing to do, but we still have work to do. Let's build on this good news and continue our efforts towards lowering the number of teen births in Illinois."
Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, said many reasons have been given for the decline in teen births, including concerns about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, the consequences of unwanted pregnancy, pro-abstinence messages, sex education programs in the schools and teens simply deciding that sex can wait.
"There is a lot of credit to be spread around and we would ask everyone who has an impact in helping teens make this important decision about their health to redouble those efforts," Dr. Lumpkin said. "Unmarried teenagers are ill-prepared to deal with the emotional, psychological and financial challenges related to parenthood and they turn to people they trust -- their family, friends, doctors, teachers, priest or minister -- for advice and guidance."
Dr. Lumpkin said teen moms and their babies face more health risks because they are less likely to receive timely prenatal care and more likely to have no care at all, more likely to smoke and less likely to gain the recommended weight during pregnancy. As a result, he said, babies born to teenagers are at an elevated risk of low birthweight, of serious and long-term disability and of dying during the first year of life.
The drop in teen births was particularly sharp among girls 17 years of age and younger, with 7,830 babies born (36 percent of all teen births) compared to 8,748 babies (39 percent of all teen births) in 1998. Births to 18- and 19-year olds totaled 14,003, up from the 13,884 reported in 1998.
The number of babies born in 1999 to African-American teenagers and whites fell from the previous year, most dramatically among black teens, while births to Hispanic teens increased slightly.
African-American teenagers 98 percent of whom were not married accounted for 38 percent of all teen births, or 8,363, compared with 40 percent or 9,086 births in 1998. White teens 81 percent of whom were not married -- comprised 35 percent of the total teen births or 7,596 babies, compared with 35 percent or 7,900 births in 1998. Hispanic or Latina teenagers -- 75 percent of whom were not married -- gave birth to 26 percent of the total teen births or 5,678 babies, compared with 24 percent or 5,446 babies in 1998.
The number of births to teen mothers and the percentage of the state's total births for the past decade are 1990, 25,545 (13.1%); 1991, 25,291 (13.0%); 1992, 24,601 (12.9%); 1993, 24,395 (12.8%); 1994, 24,668 (13.0%); 1995, 24,046 (12.9%); 1996, 23,331 (12.7%); 1997, 22,646 (12.5%); 1998, 22,632 (12.4%); and 1999, 21,833 (12.0).
of Public Health
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