A preliminary analysis of 2010 birth records has revealed that the teen birth rate in the United States is the lowest it has been in over 70 years.
In 2007, about 40 girls for every 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19 became pregnant. In 2010, there were about 34 births for every 1,000 teenage girls.
This article states that some public health experts were concerned about the spotlighting of high-profile teen moms (like in 16 and Pregnant); that it would "glamorize" teen pregnancy and possibly encourage higher rates of teen pregnancy. I remember feeling that way. I remembering worrying about the effects of the movie Juno, and that the reality tv shows and media spotlights of young famous pregnant actresses would only highlight the fun, cute, heart-warming and rewarding aspects of being a mom, regardless of one's age. I remember wondering if there would be a sudden spike in the number of girls who thought they could get "extra attention" by becoming pregnant.
But, within the last three years the rates of teen pregnancy have decreased. Maybe the media did a very good job of depicting what life is really like for a mom - absolutely wonderful and magical, and rewarding and fun - but also full of sacrifice, a word and concept often missing - or avoided - during the teenage years. The article mentions that "better sex education in schools" may be the cause of the decreased teen birth rate, but maybe all of the media attention was actually more helpful than we ever could have predicted it would be.