Periodically users here ask why kids today are having so much sex, using drugs so much and getting pregnant so young. Why can't they be like the kids of the past! Someone asked this today, and like usual, I noted that none of this is true. Today's teens, at least in the U.S., are having sex later, getting pregnant less, getting drunk less, and using drugs and smoking less than they have in generations (in some of those categories than -ever-). Apparently that was wrong since my opinion got removed. Facts are so messy when they conflict with a good story.
Here's the US teen pregnancy rate over time, by different racial groups. All are down:
In fact, we can look back much further:
As for having sex in general? In 1991, 54% of all US high schoolers had had sex. That had dropped to 46% by 2009, and 39.5% by 2017.
Current data is here: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/2017_tables/sexual_behaviors.htm#t133_down
Prior data from 1991-2009: https://web.archive.org/web/20111005064240/http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/yrbs/pdf/us_sexual_trend_yrbs.pdf
Alcohol use? 43% of grade 12's report having been drunk before, that's -way- down it was in the mid 60's till post year 2000. Heroin, cocaine, meth, LSD, they're all down by quite a lot. Smoking is WAY down: For grade 12’s the proportion who’d used cigarettes fell from 63% in 1991 to 24% today. Marijuana is not down, but not at a peak: use is higher now than it was in the early 90s, but lower than around 2000. Steroids, roofies, etc: all down.
Source on that data set is the monitoring the future survey (it’s the one the CDC uses): http://monitoringthefuture.org/data/18data/18drtbl1.pdf
Compared to teens of the past, today's teens spend a lot more time sitting at home sober using social media. Would it be better if some of these trends continued? Of course. But the idea that today's teens are so much wilder at a young age than past generations? Completely backwards.