October 11, 1996
ILLINOIS TEEN BIRTHS
SPRINGFIELD, IL -- The number of babies born to Illinois teenagers declined slightly last year, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported today.
In 1995, teens gave birth to 24,046 babies, 622 less than in 1994, or 12.9 percent of the 185,801 births reported in the state last year. More than 80 percent of the teenage births were to single moms.
Preliminary 1995 birth statistics recently released by the National Center for Health Statistics found that nationally teen births accounted for 13.2 percent of all births, up from 13.1 percent in 1994.
The percentage of Illinois births to teenagers has remained virtually unchanged for the past decade, ranging from a low of 12.5 percent of all births in 1986, 1987 and 1988 to a high of 13.1 percent in 1989 and 1990.
"There is no simple solution to the problem of teenage sexuality and pregnancy," said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director. "Teens listen to their peers, their own emotions and respond to sexual suggestions they hear repeatedly through today's popular culture. To counteract these societal pressures, youth need to learn from their family, church, school and community the skills and motivation necessary to say no to sexual experimentation."
"Abstinence is the best choice, however, we know from experience that many will choose to be sexually active," Dr. Lumpkin said. "Those teens should be taught about contraceptives and contraceptives should be available with the appropriate parental consent."
Dr. Lumpkin also noted that teenagers, parents and communities must be aware of the substantial social hardships and severe health consequences of teenage sexual activity.
"An unwanted pregnancy often results in bleak education and employment prospects, but even those unfortunate consequences pale when compared to the deadly threat of increased risk of HIV infection and AIDS," Dr. Lumpkin said.
There have been relatively few AIDS cases among teens, but Dr. Lumpkin said there is concern about increased cases and worry that the incidence may be hidden by the fact a person can be infected with HIV for 10 years or more before the signs of AIDS appear. In Illinois, nearly one-fifth of the people with AIDS are between 20 and 29 years of age.
A report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly half (48.4 percent) of Illinois high school students had had sexual intercourse and 16.3 percent had sex with four or more partners. Of those students, 9.4 percent had sexual intercourse the first time before they were 13 years of age.
In 1995 in Illinois, there were 9,824 babies born to children 17 years of age and younger, or 41 percent of all teen births. Births to 18- and 19-year-olds totaled 14,222. In 1994, there were 10,230 births to teens 17 years of age and younger, and 14,438 to 18- and 19-year-olds.
Among racial groups, African-Americans teenagers accounted for 41 percent of all teen births, or 9,779; 98 percent were unmarried. There were 8,610 births to white teenagers, 77 percent of whom were unmarried; and 5,441 births to Hispanic teens, 71 percent of whom were unmarried.
The number of births to teen mothers and the percentage of the state's total births for the last 10 years were 1986, 22,080 (12.5%); 1987, 22,393 (12.5%); 1988, 23,169 (12.5%); 1989, 24,923 (13.1%); 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%) and 1995, 24,046 (12.9%).
NOTE: Attached is a list of births to teenage mothers for 1994 and 1995 by age, according to county of residence.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Questions or Comments