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Dramatic Decline in California’s Teen Birthrates over 22 years

Alison Chopel, director of the Public Health Institute's California Adolescent Health Collaborative, comments on California's drop in teen birthrates. 

Teen birthrates vary according to geographic area, race and economic status, said Alison Chopel, director of the Public Health Institute’s California Adolescent Health Collaborative, which provides advocacy and support to organizations serving youths. For example, Tulare County’s teen birthrate in 2012 was the highest in the state, at 54 per 1,000 teens in the 15-19 age group, while Marin County registered the lowest rate — with 10.1 births, Chopel said, using data compiled from the California Department of Public Health.

Alameda County had 19.4 births per 1,000 teens; Santa Clara, 18.9 births; Contra Costa, 17.2; San Mateo, 15.3; and San Francisco 12.4, she said.

“It has to do with a lot of social and economic factors, including parental communication and openness about sex,” she said. “There’s a small portion that has to do with teens delaying first intercourse, but the vast majority is contraceptive use and policies related to comprehensive, medically accurate and age-appropriate sexual education.”

Originally published by Contra Costa Times

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