Chicago teens getting pregnant at historically low rates

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Mayor Emanuel announced Sunday that teen pregnancy in Chicago is on the decline despite the city’s rate still eclipsing the national average. | Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Teenagers in Chicago are getting pregnant at historically low rates, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Sunday, but the city’s teen pregnancy rate still eclipses the national average.

There were 32 births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19 in the city in 2014, the most recent year with data available, according to a statement from the mayor’s office.

The national rate is 22.2 births per 1,000 females of the same age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the decline, which continues a near decade-long drop in teen pregnancy in the city, is more than a 62 percent decrease from Chicago’s 85.2 rate in 1999, the mayor’s office said.

“This is an important step in the right direction as Chicago continues to work towards fewer teen births,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Every teen in this city deserves resources and education so they can make informed choices.”

The city has seen drops in teen pregnancy across all racial and ethnic groups since 2010, but none more than African Americans, the mayor’s office said. In 2010, 72 of every 1,000 female African American teens were pregnant. That number was down to 41 in 2014.

The mayor’s office said becoming pregnant early in life can lead to trouble for parents and children. About 38 percent of teen mothers earn a high school degree, and less than 2 percent earn a college degree by age 30.

Despite the decrease in pregnancy, there are still discrepancies between the city’s sexually transmitted infections rates and the national averages, the statement said.

In May, the Chicago Department of Public Health launched the second phase of the “Chicago Wears Condoms” advertisement campaign, which is meant to educate teens about safe sex and unplanned pregnancies.

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