Why teen birth in general has declined so much this decade.

In no particular order, not least because correlations are hard to tease out and frankly, the reasons aren’t all that great from a Christian perspective.

  • Less sex and thus less pregnancy
  • Morning after pill use tripling since 2002
  • Condoms everywhere
  • Less driving

Teens increasingly stay home and look sexy at each other instead of Fast Times at Ridgemont High (which was fairly realistic for the time and correspondingly ugly and depressing).  When they do manage to fornicate, they try really hard to remember to use their STD/birth control and if they forget, they race for the morning after pill.


During the 70s and 80s, that was when abortion was the big thing causing (mild) decreases in teen pregnancy, but that hasn’t been a major factor in the recent declines.



3 thoughts on “Why teen birth in general has declined so much this decade.

  1. TPC said:

    “When they do manage to fornicate, they try really hard to remember to use their STD/birth control and if they forget, they race for the morning after pill.”

    That reminds me of what Florence King said about contraception and 1950s adultery–with rendezvous involving so much planning, it was virtually impossible to forget about contraception. (The 1950s were apparently a sort of golden age of American adultery.)

    I don’t know that the less driving and less teenage sex are that terrible from the Christian point of view, and I’d add in some more social factors:

    –smaller numbers of children to look after (parents with multiple closely spaced teens can wind up outnumbered and outgunned)
    –more aware and alert parents (thanks to cell phones, it is possible to see where your kid is)
    –less social acceptance of 1950s-1970s style teenage freedom
    –less unscheduled time outside the home
    –closer relationships between parents and teens/young adults (college students are often virtually tethered to their parents via phone)


    “College students communicate with their parents on average 13.4 times a week, says Barbara Hofer, a psychology professor at Vermont’s Middlebury College and co-author of The iConnected Parent: Staying Close to Your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up.

    “A more recent study illustrates similar parent-child trends. Research featured in Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student by Arthur Levine and Diane Dean shows that about 40 percent of college students are in touch with parents by phone, email, text or visit at minimum once a day.”


      • TPC said:

        “Less driving because you’re sexting/porning is not good from a Christian POV, and that’s not at all uncommon.”

        It’s not just sexting/porning though–gaming enters into it, too, as well as being able to stay in touch with multiple friends very easily without going places. When I was a rural kid in the 1980s, aside from the phone line, you might as well have been on a desert island at home. I didn’t mind that much, but I know that at least one of my siblings felt very trapped at home.

        Another issue that comes to mind is that it’s probably an obstacle to “traditional” teen socializing that people’s schedules just don’t line up because of activities. Middle class parents try to keep their kids as busy as possible.

        I hear from my online friends with slightly older teens (and I can see for myself at school) that some seniors get very frisky toward the end of the school year–the kids are absolutely frantic for more freedom and independence. But by that time, they’re 18 years old (or almost), so you don’t get as many 15 and 16 year olds driving out to the quarry or beach to drink wine coolers or whatever and then driving home.

        Not that 16-year-olds never come to grief these days:



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