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Report: U.S. teen births rise

Atlanta_The nation's teen birth rate has risen for the first time in 14 years, according to a new government report.

The birth rate had been dropping since 1991. The decline had slowed in recent years, but government statisticians said Wednesday it jumped 3 percent from 2005 to 2006.

"It took us by surprise," said Stephanie Ventura of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a co-author of the report.

The birth data for 2006 also showed births to unmarried mothers hit a new record high, and the overall birth rate has climbed to its highest level since 1971.

The teen increase was based on the 15-19 age group, which accounted for about 99 percent of the more than 440,000 births to teens in 2006.

The rate rose to 41.9 live births per 1,000 females in that age group, up from 40.5 in 2005.

Mike Stobbe, AP Writer © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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