Maine’s Teen Birth Rate Drops Dramatically

Similar Improvements in Other States

May 24, 2013

Augusta, ME - A report released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports a steep decline in teen birth rates in the United States between 2007 and 2011. The number of teens aged 15 to 19 who gave birth declined from 26.0 per thousand teens in 2007 to 20.8 teens per thousand, a decrease of 20% in 5 years. This represents the lowest-ever rate of teen birth in Maine, significantly lower than the national average of 31.3 teen births per thousand. Maine now has the 7th lowest rate of teen birth in the country.

The DHHS report attributes the decline of the U.S. rate to factors such as strong teen pregnancy prevention messages, increased use of contraception at first sex and the use of the most effective methods of contraception among teens.

Maine has a long history of public support for comprehensive sexuality education and access to contraceptive care for teens. The Family Planning Association of Maine (FPA) has been working since 1971 to reduce Maine’s teen pregnancy rate, by providing prevention programming and contraceptive services.

“We’re very pleased with the new data,” stated George A. Hill, FPA’s CEO, “But we’re not really surprised. We have seen a large move to more effective methods of birth control among young people who use our clinical services. And that is certainly a major factor in Maine’s continuing decrease in births to teen mothers. We’re helping teens make better contraceptive choices. And teens are responding by improving their use of birth control.”

In addition to operating family planning health centers, the FPA promotes the use of evidence-based programs that have been proven to change sexual behaviors among teens, thereby reducing the risk of pregnancy. “We work very closely with many schools and youth-serving organizations,” stated Lynette Johnson, Director of FPA’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. “We’re thrilled to know that our work may be helping to reduce Maine’s overall teen birth rate. The teachers who work directly with teens certainly deserve a great deal of credit for this good news.”