Is MTV Better Than the Pill?

Teen birth rates hit a record low in 2010. Is it a ‘Teen Mom’ effect?
MTV Teen Moms Maci Bookout (left) and Brianda Diaz (right) pose with Alaska's most famous teen mom, Bristol Palin (center). (Photo: Getty Images)
Nov 18, 2011
Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.

Forget the neverending culture war battle over contraception versus abstinence: could a trainwreck of an MTV reality show about a bunch of teenage moms in the Heartland be the best birth control ever?

Sure, we can't really prove that MTV's wildly popular "Teen Mom" franchise can take any of the credit, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that the teen birth rate hit a historic low in 2010. 

The birth rate for moms between 15 and 19 years old sank to 34.3 births per 1,000 teens in 2010, the lowest level in nearly seven decades

In fact, the teenage birth rate has been declining steadily for the past three years—as well as 17 of the past 19 years—and those historic lows were recorded across all races and ethnic groups. 

The new lows might have something to do with the fact that, overall, the total number of births in the U.S. was down in 2010. But we like to think that America's teenagers took one look at the big hot mess that is the world of Teen Mom and said, "No, thanks." 

After all, what high schooler wants to be dealing with baby-daddy drama, when they can be planning their Super Sweet 16 instead?

Joking aside, teenage pregnancy is a serious issue, and there are a number of important resources out there for teens looking for help and support. Check out the CDC's guide to preventing teen pregnancy, explore Planned Parenthood's advice for teens, or visit the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

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