Teen pregnancy rates declining in the US
BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- The CDC released a new report Thursday showing teen pregnancy rates are at near record lows across the country. That trend is proving true in Benton Harbor, which has seen a reduction in teenage pregnancy rates.
In 2007 Berrien County reported 71 births for every 1,000 teenage females.
Just last year that number dropped down to only 62.
Overall in Michigan pregnancy rates went from 54 births for every 1,000 teenage females in 2007 to 44.
Berrien County Health Department Epidemiologist Yasi Back says the numbers are headed in the right direction.
"If you compare it to five years ago, it's down significantly for our county, for Michigan and nationally,” said Back.
Experts believe teen pregnancy rates hinge on poverty levels and an area’s economic status.
Berrien County's rate is higher than other counties across Michigan, but it's finally on the decline for a few reasons.
"There's an increase in awareness for teen pregnancy, there's also an increase in access,” said Back.
Access to both contraception and education, like "real talks" about healthy sexuality at places like Benton Harbor's Boys and Girls Club.
"We have always been known as a city full of violence and single parent families, so to hear that the pregnancy rate is going down in our community is great news,” said John Howard, Benton Harbor Boys and Girls Club.
Howard says he plans to talk to the students about declining pregnancy numbers- and encourage them to continue the trend.
"Our young people should be given pats on the back. Not just for not being pregnant, but also for being productive citizens within our community,” said Howard.