|February 19, 2002||Illinois Teen Births by County,
Births to Mothers Under 20 Years of Age, 1959 - 2000
TEEN BIRTHS FALL FOR SIXTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR; REACH RECORD LOW
SPRINGFIELD, IL The percentage of babies born to Illinois teenagers fell for the sixth straight year in 2000, reaching the lowest level at any time since 1959, the earliest year for which state data is available, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, today announced.
Of the 185,003 births to Illinois women in 2000, 11.4 percent, or 21,108, were to mothers 19 years of age or younger, down from 12.0 percent (21,833) in 1999. In 1959, 11.7 percent, or 28,181, of the 239,871 births to Illinois women were to teenage mothers.
"The steady decline in the number of births to teens is an encouraging sign that our prevention efforts are working and discouraging teens from engaging in risky behaviors,"said Gov. George H. Ryan.
Dr. Lumpkin said the lower percentages indicate teenage attitudes toward having sex at a young age are changing and teens are heeding the message not to become parents until they are truly ready to support a child.
"Most teens are not prepared for the emotional, psychological and financial responsibilities and challenges of parenthood," Dr. Lumpkin said. "Teenage childbearing has important health and social consequences for these young people, their babies and their families."
Since 1990, the percentage of births to teens has fallen from 13.1 to 11.4 and the numbers of babies born in all teen age groups have dropped, most notably among girls 17 years of age and younger. Births to young women 10-14 years of age decreased 38 percent, from 632 in 1990 to 392 in 2000, and babies born to teens 15-17 years of age fell 21 percent, from 9,039 in 1990 to 7,156 in 2000. Births to teens 18-19 years of age declined 15 percent, from 15,874 in 1990 to 13,560 in 2000.
Among the factors believed to be contributing to this downturn in teen pregnancies, according to a 2001 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a leveling off of teen sexual activity, and a greater likelihood on the part of those who are sexually active to use contraception.
By delaying having a baby until they are better prepared for parenthood, teens not only can finish their high school education, but increase the chances their child will be born healthier.
"We are well aware of the risks of early childbearing," Dr. Lumpkin said. "Teen mothers have difficulty fulfilling their roles as parents and going to school, which make it less likely they will achieve gainful employment as adults. This often can limit life options for the mother and child and is associated with other social and economic disadvantages."
In addition, 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. 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.
In 2000, the number of babies born to all teenage mothers fell from the previous year, while births to Hispanic teens showed a slight increase. African-American teenagers -- 98 percent of whom were unmarried -- accounted for 37 percent of all teen births, or 7,846, compared with 38 percent or 8,363 in 1999. White teens -- 82 percent of whom were unmarried -- gave birth to 34 percent of the total teen births or 7,133 babies, compared with 35 percent or 7,596 babies in 1999. Hispanic or Latina teenagers -- 75 percent of whom were not married -- accounted for 28 percent of the total teen births or 5,903 babies, compared with 26 percent or 5,678 babies in 1999.
Since 1990, the number of births to teen mothers and the percentage of the state's total births have been as follows: 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%); 1999, 21,833 (12.0%) and 2000, 21,108 (11.4%).
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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