One thing that y’all may have missed in the excitement of Thanksgiving weekend and Xmas shopping was the news that the teen pregnancy rate in the United States declined last year. And when i say it declined, i mean it declined—it dropped to a record low rate for the entire time records have been kept (70 years!), and this isn’t just a little blip downwards, but a continuation of a long-term trend.*
And yes, some of this is due to an increased use of contraception, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s analysis (which is only available in PDF format, and i don’t like linking to PDFs, so no link here, but it’s googlable) finds that a lot of it is also due to teens simply choosing not to have sex.** Kind of runs counter to the common Mormon meme that the world is busily going to hell in a handbasket, and that we need to aggressively shelter our kids from whatever the rest of the world is doing, since everybody else is getting more and more evil.***
So i’ll just say that what i became very thankful for this past Thanksgiving weekend was that my children are growing up in a world that seems to be getting more and more moral in some very important ways, whether we care to notice that or not.
* I recognize that the unwed teen pregnancy rate is a more interesting statistic for this entry than simply the teen pregnancy rate, but those statistics turn out to be really hard to come by—or, at least, reliable ones are hard to find. Part of the problem is that the best numbers for my purposes would be teen pregnancies in which conception (not just birth) occurred outside of marriage, and that doesn’t seem to be well-tracked by anybody.
**And before anybody decides to pull out the abortion card, i’ll simply note that the teen abortion rate has been steadily falling over the past several decades, and that the stats i’m talking about are pregnancy rates, anyway, not birth rates.
*** As does the fact that the peak year for the teen pregnancy rate (in the United States) was 1957. You mean teen pregnancies have been lower than that for more than 50 years, and we still haven’t realized that maybe the world isn’t all that more evil a place for our kids to grow up than it was when we were kids?
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