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released a new report showing birthrates among teenagers fell for the 10th straight year to a new record low in 2001.

Prepared by HHS’ CDC, the report, “Births: Preliminary Data for 2001,” shows the teen birthrate dropped 5 percent last year, from 48.5 births/1,000 females aged 15-19 in 2000 to 45.9 in 2001. Since 1991, the teen birthrate has declined 26 percent. Progress was greatest among younger teens; the birthrate for teenagers 15-17 years old fell 8 percent in 2001, and has dropped 35 percent since 1991. The rate for teens 18-19 years of age dropped 4 percent in 2001 and has fallen 20 percent since 1991.

In addition, while the overall number of births to unmarried women rose slightly in 2001, births to unmarried teens declined. The rate of births per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15-44 declined slightly between 2000 and 2001. However, the proportion of births to unmarried women rose slightly in 2001, from 33.2 percent in 2000 to 33.4 percent in 2001.

“This is an important milestone in our fight against teen pregnancy,” Secretary Thompson said. “The research shows us that when teens postpone parenthood, they improve their lives and the lives of their children. While we’ve seen remarkable progress, we must continue our efforts in local communities to reach teens with the message that everyone benefits when they wait until they are truly ready to start a family.” The report is on CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics Web site at: HHS’ efforts to reduce teen pregnancy: