Sacramento, California - California’s birth rate among adolescents has continued to decline to record-low levels, reports California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. The state’s 2014 numbers indicate a record low of 20.8 births per 1,000 females between the ages of 15 and 19. Those numbers reflect a 10 percent decline from 2013 and a 55 percent decline from the 2000 rate of 46.7
"California’s continued success in reducing births among adolescents is an excellent example of public health at work,” said Dr. Smith. “We can have a positive influence on the lives of young people when we empower them with knowledge, tools and resources to make healthy choices.”
The birth rate among adolescents decreased among all racial and ethnic groups between 2000 and 2014. During this time, the birth rate dropped from 77.3 to 31.3 (births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19) among Hispanics, 59.1 to 24.6 among African Americans, 22.3 to 8.4 among Whites and 15.0 to 3.7 among Asians.
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 females. In addition, the birth rate among adolescents varies considerably across counties, from a low of 7.0 in Marin County to a high of 45.1 in Kern County.
California has a number of programs aimed at preventing adolescent pregnancy and improving pregnancy outcomes among young women. CDPH funds the Information and Education Program, the Personal Responsibility Education Program authorized through the Affordable Care Act of 2010, and the Adolescent Family Life Program for expectant and parenting adolescents. In addition, the state provides no-cost family planning services to eligible men and women, including adolescents, through the Family PACT Program.