By Jason Millman - 12/21/10 05:16 PM EST
The U.S. teen birth rate fell in 2009 to the lowest rate in 70 years, according to a federal report released Tuesday morning.
The 2009 rate of 39.1 births per 1,000 teens is down 6 percent from the previous year, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) said. Birth rates for younger and older teens, including all races and ethnic groups, also reached record lows.
Total births dropped from 4.25 million in 2008 to 4.13 million in 2009, the NCHS said. The report also found that the birth rate for women in their early 20s fell 7 percent last year, the largest decline since 1973.
Meanwhile, the cesarean delivery rate rose to a record high of 32.9 percent. The rate has increased each year since 1996, when it was 20.7 percent.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy welcomed the news but said the U.S. rate is still high.
"Even when the news is good, it is essential that parents, practitioners, policymakers, and really anyone who cares about teenagers, remember that the U.S. still has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and births among comparable countries and that we all need to continue helping teens postpone their families until they are older, through school, and in stable, committed relationships," the organization said.