Key findings:

  • From 2014 to 2018, teen birth rates dropped by 25.4% around the country.
  • Since 2014, each state has seen a decline in teen births of at least 20% — over 30% in the states with the largest declines.
  • Nine of the top 10 states required sex education in public schools.
  • Usage of IUDs increased from 0.4% in 2005 to 7.1% in 2013.

Nationally, teen birth rates have seen a steady decline over the last five years — a trend that started in the early 90s and continues today. Our team of analysts at QuoteWizard reviewed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data on teen birth rates to identify the trends between 2014 and 2018. In the time between 2014 and 2018, teen birth rates have dropped by 25.4% around the country. That’s backed up by a 64% drop from 1991 to 2015. Every single state has seen at least a 20% decline in teen births since 2014, and the states with the largest declines have seen over 30%. What’s causing the decline in teen birth rates? Are MTV reality shows like 16 and Pregnant to credit? While the Brookings Institute gives some credit to the reality TV shows, there are much larger education and access programs that have contributed to the steady decline in teen births.

From 2014 to 2018 teen birth rates dropped 25.4% around the country.
Source, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What's driving the decline in teen birth rate?

Sex education in public schools is mandatory in 30 states. In our findings of states that saw the largest declines in teen birth rates, nine of the top 10 states required sex education in public schools. Public sector investments into sex education have proven to be effective in the reduction of the teen birth rate. Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of Power to Decide, has indicated that two decades’ worth of investments into sex education has saved the public billions of dollars. Campaigns to prevent unplanned pregnancies have resulted in savings of nearly $2 billion a year from public expense.

Teen births can become expensive to the public through a number of health care and child support factors that come at the costs of taxpayers. Significant policy improvements have made it possible for teens to receive proper sex education and have access to family planning services. During the Obama administration, Congress passed a $185 million bill for medically accurate and age-appropriate sex education. Another Obama administration policy for improving the access to family planning was the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Better known as Obamacare, these new health laws allowed low-income families better access to family planning through programs like Medicaid expansion and increased funding for the Title X national family planning program.

An analysis by the CDC found that low-income teens using Title X resources saw an increased use in long-acting reversible contraceptives such as IUDs. Usage of these more effective contraceptives increased from 0.4% in 2005 to 7.1% in 2013. Along with Medicaid expansion taking effect in most states in 2013, access to more effective contraceptives became much easier and more affordable. In most cases, Obamacare and Medicaid health plans offered free birth control for enrollees. Of the top 10 states we found as experiencing the largest declines in teen birth rates, all but Texas had expanded Medicaid under the ACA.

In our analysis of the teen birth rate decline, we found the top states shared sex education and access to family planning services as primary drivers for the drop. Top states mandated and invested in sex education. They had also adopted health laws like Medicaid expansion and Title X investments to provide better access to birth control.

Methodology

To get rankings, QuoteWizard analyzed the Center of Disease Control (CDC) data on teen birth rates over a five-year period from 2014 to 2018. Our final ranking is based on the states which had the biggest decrease in teen births over that same 5-year period. States with the largest decrease in teen births were ranked 1st (largest decline) to 50th (lowest decline). Also included with each state’s teen birth rate change is the average teen birth rate over a 5-year period. CDC’s teen birth rate is classified by the number of births per 1,000 teenagers ages 15-19 in each state.

Rank State Teen Birth Change 2014 to 2018 Average Birth Rate 2014 to 2018
1 Vermont -38.0% 11.0%
2 California -35.5% 17.2%
3 Montana -34.8% 22.8%
4 Minnesota -34.2% 12.8%
5 Washington -33.5% 16.2%
6 Oregon -33.5% 16.8%
8 Texas -33.1% 31.3%
7 New Mexico -33.1% 31.1%
9 Arizona -32.8% 24.4%
10 Maine -32.7% 14.2%
11 Utah -32.5% 16.2%
12 Massachusetts -32.1% 8.8%
13 North Dakota -31.4% 19.8%
14 Idaho -31.0% 20.1%
15 Wyoming -30.9% 26.2%
16 Illinois -30.7% 19.2%
17 West Virginia -30.6% 30.1%
18 Alaska -30.6% 24.8%
19 Colorado -29.6% 17.6%
20 Oklahoma -29.4% 32.7%
21 Nevada -28.1% 24.5%
22 Connecticut -27.8% 9.6%
23 North Carolina -27.8% 22.1%
24 Wisconsin -27.8% 15.2%
25 Kansas -27.5% 23.3%
26 Georgia -27.5% 24.0%
27 New York -27.3% 13.6%
28 New Hampshire -27.3% 9.5%
29 Rhode Island -27.2% 13.2%
30 Pennsylvania -26.9% 16.3%
31 Mississippi -26.8% 32.8%
32 Florida -25.8% 19.5%
33 Hawaii -25.5% 19.8%
34 Michigan -25.1% 18.1%
35 Nebraska -24.8% 19.6%
36 Ohio -24.7% 22.0%
37 Tennessee -23.3% 28.7%
38 Louisiana -23.2% 31.4%
39 Arkansas -23.0% 35.1%
40 South Carolina -22.8% 24.4%
41 Iowa -22.7% 17.4%
42 Kentucky -22.7% 31.0%
43 Virginia -22.3% 16.1%
44 Indiana -22.1% 24.4%
45 South Dakota -22.1% 24.1%
46 New Jersey -21.4% 11.4%
47 Alabama -21.3% 28.5%
48 Maryland -20.8% 15.8%
49 Missouri -20.6% 23.9%
50 Delaware -19.3% 18.7%