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California’s Adolescent Birth Rate Continues to Decline

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced that California’s adolescent birth rate (ABR) continues to decline. A new state report indicates a record low of 15.7 births per 1,000 females between the ages of 15 and 19. Those numbers reflect an 11 percent decline between 2015 and 2016.

Declining rates can be attributed to a number of factors, including improved access to reproductive health services and increased use of contraception; delayed first sexual intercourse; and public health prevention, education and support programs.

“While we have more work to do, the decline in adolescent births is a sign that our efforts in California are working,” said Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer.

The adolescent birth rate decreased among all racial and ethnic groups between 2015 and 2016. Despite these declining birth rates, racial disparities persist in adolescent childbearing in California. African-American and Hispanic adolescents are three to four times as likely to give birth as White youth. Hispanic females account for 75 percent of adolescent births and have the highest ABR at 23.7. Rates also vary dramatically across counties: the county with the highest ABR has a rate 5.2 times greater than the county with the lowest ABR.

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