Cleveland Teen Birth Rates Fall



Matching pregger bellies are out.
  • Matching pregger bellies are out.

Either Cleveland teens are having less sex, having more unorthodox sex, having more protected sex, or have downed Plan B in record numbers.

NPR reports that teen birth rates in Cleveland are down since 2003.

A report released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that nationally, teen pregnancy is at its lowest rate in history, and Northeast Ohio is seeing a similar trend. Since 2003, for every one thousand teen girls in Cleveland, the birth rate to those ages 15-19 has decreased from 80 to 65.

Experts partially attribute the decline to youth experiencing the financial struggles of their families during the recession. But Karen Butler, Cleveland’s Public Health Commissioner, says it’s difficult to draw absolute conclusions. While the economy may play a role, a bigger factor, she believes, is the amount of information now available to teens about the consequences of pregnancy.

Butler: “It’s really increasing awareness, making contraceptives and other services more accessible and available to teens. I think it’s really, too, an increased awareness on a more global level.”

Also likely to be a factor: MTV's scare-you-into-not-letting-boys-near-your-bathing-suit-area program 16 and Pregnant.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.