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Latino teens are having less sex and using more contraception

According to a new study, Latino teens are not only being smarter with increased use of contraception when having sex, they are having less sex altogether.  The findings come from the High School Youth Risk Survey which was administered by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and given to 9th through 12th graders nationwide between 2007 and 2011.

The survey states that the numbers of teens not using contraception has decreased, meaning teens who are having sex are using some form of protection – and that the number of Latino teens having sex at all has dropped 3.9 percent.  Furthermore, the results show that there has been a 12 percent drop in teen birth rate.  Previously, Latino teens led the nation in teen pregnancies among females ages 15 through 19.

The decrease in teen pregnancy is attributed to the increase in safe sex practices, better sex education, and more accessibility to condoms.   New York City Health Commissioner Tom Farley echoed that to The Daily News:  “Two things are happening here—teens are using more contraceptives, and they’re also delaying sexual activity.  It shows that when you make condoms and contraception available to teens, they don’t increase their likelihood of being sexually active. But they get the message that sex is risky.”

The exact reasons for teens delaying sex is still being researched but experts tend to believe that better, more comprehensive sex education for youths is helping them make more informed decisions – and is arming them with the risks, like pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, that come with having sex.

The CDC’s survey results confirm the most recent findings by the Pew Research Center which found that Latinas of all ages – as opposed to just teens – are having fewer babies and are starting their families later.  The Pew survey goes on to cite changing attitudes towards family size and the economy as reasons for having fewer children at an older age.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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