CHICAGO (CBS) — The past decade saw a decline in the teen birth rate in Chicago, although the number of teen pregnancies is still much higher than the national average, according to new statistics released by the city on Tuesday. RELATED: Read The Full Report Between 1999 and 2009, the rate of teenagers having children declined 33 percent, according to a new report “Births in Chicago, 1999-2009.” The report noted that the number of teen births is still 1.5 times higher than the national average, but that the decline is outpacing the national trend. In 2009, the teen birth rate per 1,000 females was 57, compared with 39 nationwide. In 1999 that number was 85 per 1,000 in Chicago. The report found that 84 percent of women sought prenatal care during the first trimester of their pregnancies, an increase of 10 percent. In 2009, the report found, that just under 4 percent of women reported that they smoked while pregnant. The percentage of low birth weight babies also declined–to about one in 10 infants. Older women were also having more children, the report said. The birth rates for women between the ages of 35 and 44 increased 40 percent. To further decrease teen pregnancy rates, the Chicago Department of Public Health is working with Chicago Public Schools to pilot a new condom availability program, implement comprehensive sex education at all grade levels, and launch a city-wide public awareness campaign, according to a city news release. There were 44,441 babies born in Chicago in 2009, a decline of 12 percent from 1999. About half of those babies were born to unmarried mothers. The Austin neighborhood had the highest average number of births (1,877 a year) between 2005-2009.
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