Adolescent birth rate drops across all racial groups, annual report shows

America’s Children report also finds improvements in child education, health care

Cover of 2016 America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being

The teen birth rate dropped for another consecutive year, continuing a long-term decline in teen pregnancy, according to the most recent yearly report on the status of America’s children and youth. 

According to the 2016 edition of America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, in 2014, the adolescent birth rate was 11 births per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17 years, down from 12 per 1,000 in 2013. Racial and ethnic disparities in adolescent birth rates also have declined, although substantial differences persist.

The annual report is published by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a working group of 23 federal agencies that collect, analyze and report data on conditions and trends related to child and family well-being. The report tracks 41 indicators of child well-being, using statistics from federal researchers.

This year’s report is the 18th in an ongoing series and presents key indicators of children’s well-being in seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education and health.

In the behavior domain, the percentages of 10th- and 12th-graders in all racial and ethnic groups who binge drink—have five or more alcoholic beverages in a row on a single occasion—were the lowest in 2015 since the survey began tracking this statistic in 1980. Among 12th-graders, Hispanic and white non-Hispanic students reported binge drinking at twice the rate of black non-Hispanic students.

In the education domain, overall math scores declined slightly for fourth and eighth graders. However, some progress has been made in narrowing the achievement gap or the differences in average scores for different racial and ethnic groups. For example, the difference in math scores for white and black fourth graders has narrowed from 32 points in 1990 to 24 points in 2015.

Other statistics in the 2016 report include:

Economic Circumstances

  • In 2014, 21 percent of all children in the United States lived in poverty.
  • As of 2014, 21 percent of children were living in food-insecure households, a rate that has not changed from the previous year.

Health Care

  • The percentage of children who did not have health insurance coverage declined, from 7 percent in 2013 to 5 percent in 2014.
  • Hispanic children were more likely to be without health insurance coverage than non-Hispanic children. As of 2014, 10 percent of Hispanic children were uninsured.
  • Overall, 95 percent of children had health insurance as of 2014. The percentage of children with health insurance increased by 7 percentage points from 2000 to 2014.
  • During 2013–2014, 89 percent of children ages 5 to 11 years and 87 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 17 years visited the dentist in the past year.


  • The obesity rate has not changed significantly in the most recent years reported.  However, obesity rates continue to rise in the long term. In 2011–2014, 19 percent of children ages 6 to 17 years were obese.

Physical Environment and Safety

  • The rate of children who were victims of serious violent crimes did not change significantly from 2013 (9 per 1,000) to 2014 (7 per 1,000).
  • The rate of children who were victims of violent crime declined sharply from the early 1990s through the early 2000s. In 1993, youth ages 12 to 17 years experienced 40 violent crimes per 1,000 youth. In 2014, they experienced 8 violent crimes per 1,000 youth.
  • In 2015, the percentage of eighth, 10th and 12th graders who reported smoking cigarettes daily was the lowest since data collection began in 1980.


  • The percentage of young adults ages 18 to 24 who completed high school remained the same from 2013 to 2014 at 92 percent.
  • In 2014, 68 percent of students who completed high school went on to enroll in a two or four year college immediately after high school—up from 49 percent in 1980.

The full report is available on the forum’s website, at


About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s website at  

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): The NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about the NIH and its programs, visit

top of pageBACK TO TOP