A Guttmacher Institute study reveals that in 2008, teen births and abortions decreased to their lowest levels since 1972 -- the year before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the case of Roe v. Wade.
Almost 40 years later, a rate of 67.8 pregnancies per 1,000 women under the age of 20 was reached. That comes out to nearly 750,000 U.S. women, 98 percent of them between the ages of 15 and 19.
Following suit, the teen abortion rate also dropped to the lowest it has been since 1972. Guttmacher reports that 17.8 abortions took place per 1,000 teen girls and women. Compared to when the abortion rate peaked in 1988, the 2008 numbers were down 59 percent.
According to Reuters, 2008 was the most recent year for which the statistics were available. The decline is largely attributed to "more effective forms of contraception," said Kathryn Kost, who co-authored the report. Another possible factor for the decline is reduced sexual activity.
These low rates did not translate to teens who belonged to minority groups, though their rates have fallen overall during the last four decades. Black and Hispanic teens experience pregnancy and abortion rates two to four times higher than white teens.
Additionally, more recent data has been found by the National Center for Health Statistics. According to NCHS, the teenage birth rate declined eight percent in the U.S. from 2007 to 2009, reaching a historic low at 39.1 births per 1,000 teens aged 15-19.