THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE ANNOUNCES TEEN BIRTH RATES DECLINING NATIONWIDE Also Highlights New Incentives for States to Reduce Out-of-Wedlock Birth Rates
Washington, DC -- Vice President Al Gore announced a new report showing that teen birth rates have declined nationwide by 16 percent from 1991 to 1997, and by four percent since 1996 and will highlight these successes at a round table at the White House on Thursday.
The Vice President praised this decrease which has occurred in every state in the country and among African-Americans, Hispanics, and whites as evidence that efforts to encourage young people to make responsible choices are having an effect. The report also showed that out-of-wedlock births continue to decline across the nation.
"We have made real progress -- and must do more -- to encourage more young people to delay parenthood until they are truly ready to live up to its important responsibilities," said Vice President Gore. "This good news shows that when Americans come together in support of our basic values we can send a clear message that our children should not be having children."
In specific, the report, a Department of Health and Human Services study, found that:
Birth rates have fallen among all groups of teens. The birth rate for teenagers has fallen 16 percent -- from 62.1 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 years in 1991 to 52.3 in 1997. Teen birth rates are down in all fifty states. The report shows that teen birth rates are down in all fifty states. In 10 states and the District of Columbia, the rate is down by more than 20 percent. Teen birth rates are down across ethnic and racial groups. Teen birth rates declined for white, black, American Indian, Asian or Pacific Islander and Hispanic women. Out-of-wedlock birth rates are also declining at record numbers. The report also found that out-of wedlock births continue to decline-- from six percent from the peak in 1994 and two percent since 1996. The birth rate for unmarried teens fell nine percent from its peak in 1994. The Vice President will highlight a recent final rule that rewards
states that have the greatest success in reducing out-of-wedlock births. Beginning in FY 1999, up to five states can qualify for up to $25 million each if they successfully reduce the percentage of children born out-of-wedlock without increasing abortions. Children who are born into homes without two parents are more likely to drop out of school, get involved in crime and drugs, and end up in poverty. These bonus funds, which were part of the 1996 welfare reform law, are designed to encourage state efforts to develop effective solutions for addressing this critical social issue.
The Vice President praised the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy for their continuing efforts to support values and encourage actions across all parts of the nation to promote a pregnancy-free adolescence. This year, the Campaign is focusing on the important positive role that teens have in influencing other teens to prevent teen pregnancy. The Campaign was created in response to President Clinton's 1995 State of the Union challenge to "parents and leaders all across this country to join together in a national campaign against teen pregnancy."
"By mobilizing our communities, churches, the media, parents, and young people themselves to promote responsible choices, we can help make sure that every child has responsible parents and can fulfill their potential," said Vice President Gore.