Chicago’s teen birth rate reaches new low

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Teen births have reached a new low in Chicago, according to city health officials.

In 2015, there were 27.5 births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19 — a significant decrease from the 85.2 rate in 1999. Data from 2015 is the most recent information available.

Teen births have been on the decline in Chicago since 2010. African-American teens have seen the greatest decline, from more than 72 births per 1,000 females to 34.9 births.

Chicago’s teen birth rate is still higher than the national average of 22.3.

Babies born to teen mothers have increased chances of low birth weight and infant mortality, studies show. It also takes a toll on the educational chances of the mother. About 38 percent of teen mothers earn a high school diploma and less than 2 percent earn a college degree by the age of 30, according to the CDPH.

To combat the problem, the CPDH has expanded comprehensive sexual health education and made condoms available in schools but their efforts face headwinds at the federal level, the city agency pointed out.

A five-year, $5 million grant was awarded to CDPH in 2015 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to assess the impact of the city’s sex ed efforts. The Trump administration intends to stop funding the grant in summer 2018.

“In spite of these short-sighted, politically motivated cuts from the Trump administration, Chicago will continue to advocate for our youth to ensure they receive the information and resources they need to stay healthy,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a news release issued by CDPH.

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