Sexual activity among Latino high school students has dropped by 3.9 percent according to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The data, collected between 2007 through 2011 also showed the number of ninth grade through 12th graders not using birth control decreased.
The research, compiled in the CDC’s High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey, supports previous data showing teen birth rates among Latinos also dropping.
Traditionally, Latinos have some of the highest teen birth rates, yet 2012 statistics indicated a 12 percent decrease in pregnancy rates since 2010 for Hispanic teens.
Much of the decrease in pregnancy is attributed to higher rates of birth control use; however, more investigation is needed into why Hispanic youth are becoming less sexually active.
Most experts attribute the decrease in sexual activity to better sexual health education and birth control availability in the school.
“Two things are happening here—teens are using more contraceptives, and they’re also delaying sexual activity,” said NYC Health Commissioner Tom Farley to New York Daily News. “It shows that when you make condoms and contraception available to teens, they don’t increase their likelihood of being sexually active. But they get the message that sex is risky.”
Other reasons for the decline in sexual activity, as explained in a Pew Center research study, include religious beliefs and the economy decreasing a desire for large families. Pew has found significant evidence linking fertility decline and economic distress, though the correlation was noted mostly among adult Hispanics.
“It’s a glass half full, half empty situation,” Bill Albert, chief program officer of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, told Fox News. “It’s really this magic formula of less sex and more contraception.”
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy notes the teen pregnancy rate among Latinas was 56 births per 1,000 individuals as of the most recent data available. Approximately 44 percent of Latina teens who became pregnant were pregnant at least once before the age of 20, and though Latinas still have some of the highest teen birth rates, the numbers have been steadily dropping since 1990.
This article was originally published on VOXXI as More Latino teens using birth control, becoming less sexually active