- Two-thirds of high school students are not currently sexually active
- Most high school students have never had sexual intercourse
- Rates of teen births have decreased
- Rates of teen abortions have decreased
What the Data Shows
A large majority (2/3) of high school students in the U.S. are not currently sexually active and most students (52%) have never had sexual intercourse. As the number of teens choosing abstinence has been steadily climbing for nearly two decades, teen birth rates have fallen over this same period of time. While the past two years have seen slight increases in teen births (+3% in 2006, +1% in 2007) the overall teen birth rate is down sharply (34%) since 1991.
Abstinence is the safest, healthiest choice for teens. Abstinence education programs support teens’ desires to avoid the risks associated with sexual activity, and to equip teens with skills to avoid pressure toward sexual activity. As indicated above, abstinence is not only realistic, but for most teens it is the reality.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, 2007. (“Currently sexually active defined by CDC as: Have not had sexual intercourse in the last three months).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, 2007.
- Hamilton BE, Martin JA, Ventura SJ. Births: Preliminary data for 2007. National vital statistics reports, Web release; vol 57 no 12. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. Released March 18, 2009. (The graph above begins at 1991 which is the peak year for reported teen birth rates. 1991 is the benchmark year used by the NVSR in the report cited.)
- U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics, National and State Trends and Trends by Trace and Ethnicity, Guttmacher Institute, 120 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005, September 2006, p. 5 (Abortion statistics available through 2002 only.)