Milwaukee teen birth rate drops 50 pct. in 7 years

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The teen birthrate in Milwaukee has dropped in half in the past seven years thanks to aggressive teen pregnancy prevention efforts, officials said.

The city had fewer than 26 births per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17 last year, compared to 52 births per 1,000 teens seven years earlier, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ( ).

City officials credited the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, a campaign that used sometimes shocking ads to show how teen pregnancy can harm both girls and boys. The ads included billboards showing boys with pregnant stomachs. The goal was to encourage teens to talk about the issue with adults.

The campaign ran at the same time the public schools introduced a new sex education curriculum that teaches both abstinence and correct use of contraceptives.

Mayor Tom Barrett said the decrease was good news, but it didn’t mean the fight was over.

“Let us keep our foot on the accelerator to drive down the rate even further,” Barrett said at a Wednesday news conference. “Positive trends must not be reversed. Let’s remember there are still too many teens having babies.”

The teen birthrate has been decreasing nationally, although not as dramatically as in Milwaukee. In 1991, the peak year for teen births, the rate in Milwaukee was nearly 96 births per 1,000 girls, compared to almost 37 nationally.

National studies indicate fewer teens are having sex and those who are sexually active are more likely to use condoms.


Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

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