MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For the fifth consecutive year, the number of teenagers who gave birth in Hennepin County has decreased.

According to Hennepin County officials, the number of teen births in 2007 was 1,170. In 2011, the number was 692.

Teenagers are defined in the data as young women aged 15-19.

Officials say sex education programs, targeted and specialized health care, youth services, leadership opportunities and programs linking youths to trusted adults have helped change the trend in teen pregnancies.

Katherine Meerse, director of the county’s “It’s Your Future” project, says the programs have helped make a difference.

“We know that our youth are more likely to be successful in life when they wait until they’re adults to become parents,” Meerse said. “We know that children are more likely to thrive when they are born to parents who are ready and able to nurture them and help them grow. This data shows that what we are doing works.”

Meerse did acknowledge that teens who are ethnic minorities, in the corrections system or in foster care still have a higher rate of teen pregnancy.

More than half of human services’ spending in the state goes to families that began with a teen parent.


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