Fewer California teenagers are having babies

Health officials say waiting to have children can provide more educational and financial opportunities for teens.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fewer California teenagers are having babies than in years past. State officials recently announced the teen birth rate has hit an all-time low.

California's teen pregnancy rate is going down. So much so, it's at a record low with just under 26 births per every 1,000 teens in the state. Health officials say the eight percent decrease is good news.

Laura Lopez said, "I think that's fantastic that lets us know we are doing a wonderful job in doing outreach and educating our teens about birth control and being a teen parent."

Lopez is program manager with the Department of Social Services in Fresno County. She says in the county, workers are also seeing less teen moms on public assistance.

However, some of the counties with the highest birth rates are right here in the Central Valley with Kings and Tulare counties. Fresno, Madera and Merced also report higher birth rates among teen moms compared with the rest of the state.

Pedro Elias said, "Part of it is access, information, access to information and that we did live in rural areas."

Elias with Planned Parenthood Mar Monte educates teen parents. He says there are challenges to overcome, but more education is helping young people make good decisions.

"If we can continue to provide information to in our community to youth and reinvesting in our youth," said Elias. "We can continue to see lower teen pregnancy rates."

Elias hopes the state will continue to financially support programs for young people.

Health officials say waiting to have children can provide more educational and financial opportunities for teens.

State officials say while teen birth rates have decreased among all ethnic group, Hispanic teens continue to have the highest birth rate. However, they also had the greatest decline of teen pregnancies as well.



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