A CDC report released this week revealed that the birth rate among teens in the US has never been lower. Some claim the drop is due to abstinence-only policies, while public health professionals credit better contraception methods and greater willingness of young people to use them.
One other possible and more interesting factor that hasn't really been brought up is the change in how today's teenage boys think and act. Sociology professor Amy Schalet discussed with the Times about the emergence of a new generation of "caring, romantic American boys," and how they may be the reason why pregnancy rates among teens are nose-diving.
According to Schalet, today's generation of teen boys are also more inclined than to name falling in love as a
precondition for sex. Those that she
interviewed tended to "use strong, hyper-romantic language to talk about love." She writes:
Such romanticism has largely flown under the radar of American popular culture. Yet, the most recent research by the family growth survey, conducted between 2006 and 2010, indicates that relationships matter to boys more often than we think. Four of 10 males between 15 and 19 who had not had sex said the main reason was that they hadn’t met the right person or that they were in a relationship but waiting for the right time; an additional 3 of 10 cited religion and morality.
Schalet also points out that both male and female teens report less sexual experience than
their counterparts did 25 years ago, and the drop has been much steeper
among boys. A comparison of Dutch and American teen attitudes towards
sex also found that the latter are substantially more anxious compared
to previous generations. Some of that fear is about HIV, or other
sexually transmitted infections; some of that fear is about getting a
girl pregnant. It seems that boys might finally be coming around to the
idea that when it comes to sex, one mistake really can ruin your life.