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Why One Virginia City's Teen Pregnancy Rate Dropped By 70 Percent

Nationally, teen pregnancy rates have fallen to historic lows. Here in Virginia nowhere has the change been more drastic than in Petersburg.

In Petersburg, south of Richmond, a pregnancy prevention program that began more than ten years ago has helped drop the rate of teen pregnancies by seventy percent. That’s according to a new analysis of numbers by the United Way of Greater Richmond.

CEO James Taylor says the formula for success was fairly simple. “The big lesson is to combine the efforts of the Health Department from a public health perspective with the educational opportunities that the public schools provide to create an awareness campaign. I think those things actually matter.”

That’s right, education matters. The Petersburg Health Department partnered with public schools to teach students about the consequences of sex.

But even in parts of the state without comprehensive education, the rate of teen pregnancies is on the decline. Why? Data from the Pew research center suggests the simplest explanation of all: teens are having less sex. 

Click here to read the Virginia Department of Health announcement.

Click here to read the Pew Research Center report on falling teen pregnancy rates.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Mallory Noe-Payne is a Radio IQ reporter based in Richmond.