Teen Birth Rates Drop

Fewer Teens Becoming Parents In North County

The North County has been known to have some of the highest teen birth rates in Kern County, but preliminary numbers by the Kern County Public Health Department for 2010 show that babies born to teens dropped nearly 9 percent in comparison to 2009.

The Kern County Public Health Department said the number of births to teen mothers in the North County have declined in 2010 by 8.75 percent. In 2010, 343 babies were born to teens, while in 2009, there were 373 babies born to teens.

Public Health officials believe the decline can be attributed, in part, to pregnancy prevention awareness.

"There is a lot of attention placed on things that can prevent and reduce the numbers of births to teens, and it's encouraging to see that we are on the right track in that we are seeing a reduction and not an overall increase," said Claudia Jonah with Public Health.

Hispanic teens continued to have the highest birth rate last year, but they still have a slight drop when compared to 2009. In 2010, 317 babies were born to Hispanic teens, while in 2009, 342 babies were born to Hispanic teens.

While early teenage childbearing has been known to have negative consequences for teen mothers and their children, officials with the Public Health Department said the decline means more teens have better options for a brighter future.

"They have a chance for having the best educational outcome for themselves, which will be associated with the ability to have good income earning potential," said Jonah.

Despite California's improvements in reducing births to teens, the state's teen birth rate remains higher than the rate in many developed nations said the State Department of Public Health. California continues to implement a number of programs aimed at preventing teen pregnancy.

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