SPRINGFIELD – Governor George H. Ryan today announced the lowest level in teen births since statistics were first gathered by age in 1959. This is the seventh straight year the percentage and the number of births in Illinois were down for teens 19 years of age and younger.
“This positive trend is reason for optimism,” said Governor Ryan. “These improvements are a result of the combined efforts of parents and families, teachers, clergy, community organizations, government agencies and, most importantly, the teens themselves.”
In the past decade, the total number of Illinois births dropped 3.6 percent from 190,923 in 1992 to 184,022 in 2001, while during the same time period births to teenagers fell 18 percent. Since 1992, the percentage of teen births in Illinois has dropped from 12.9 to 10.9, with the biggest drop coming from teens 17 years of age and younger.
Births to girls 10-14 years of age dropped by nearly half from 663 in 1992 to 344 in 2001, while births to girls 15-17 years of age fell 27 percent from 9,118 in 1992 to 6,635 in 2001. Births to girls 18-19 years of age dropped 12 percent from 14,820 in 1992 to 13,113 in 2001.
“There are a great deal of emotional, psychological and financial challenges related to parenthood that most teenagers are not prepared to deal with,” said Dr. John R. Lumpkin, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “The fact that the number of teen births
has dropped for seven years in a row offers us encouragement that teenagers are realizing the
serious risks involved in teen pregnancies.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited fewer high school students engaging in sexual intercourse (down 16 percent from 1991 to 2001) as one of the contributing factors to the downturn in teen pregnancies nationwide. An increase in the use of contraception (46 percent in 1991 to 58 percent in 2001) was reported among students having sexual intercourse.
In 2001 there were fewer teen births to Caucasians and African Americans, but an increase in teen births among Hispanics. African-Americans accounted for 36 percent or 7,265 of all teen births compared with 37 percent or 7,846 in 2000. Caucasians accounted for 33 percent of teen births or 6,625 compared with 34 percent or 7,133 in 2000. Hispanics accounted for 30 percent of the total teen births or 6,004 compared with 28 percent or 5,903 in 2000.
The number of teen births and the state’s total birth percentage since 1992 are as follows:
- 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%)
- 2000: 21,108 (11.4%)
- 2001: 20,092 (10.9%)
To view a list of birth rates by county, please visit www.idph.state.il.us/health/teen/teen/teen/0001.htm.