What is up with kids nowadays?

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:

What is up with kids nowadays?

In fact, we can look back much further:

What is up with kids nowadays?

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.


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Most Helpful Guys

  • In the early 90s, the notion of sex education was a hot topic in America. But the reason it came about was because of children and teenagers not having any clue about how to use contraception or trying to think about the potential future consequences of their actions. Other education initiatives like DARE also originated for similar reasons.

    Most of society views teen pregnancy as a negative. Since your graphs are showing a noticeable drop in their occurrence since the early 90s, I think it's fair to conclude that sex ed is working.

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  • 5d

    I've seen similar evidence, too.

    What do you put it down to?

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    • 5d

      Young people really do spend much less time with others or out of their house. That’s a factor with some of it.

      I suspect higher birth control use but I’m not sure. Birth control usage has explained the traditional difference between teen pregnancy rates in the US CD UK vs Western Europe.

    • 5d

      Yeah, that would make sense.

Most Helpful Girl

  • 7d

    I did know this already, but I’m glad you put up some actual charts of it.

    Very good MyTake! Proving some people wrong hopefully lol

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What Girls & Guys Said

48
  • 5d

    I respect people who defer to objective evidence. Nice take man.

    It’s true, young people are actually less promiscuous than ever before.

    All data points to this conclusion. Many blame technology getting in the way of social interaction, which would lead to everything else.

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  • 6d

    Feminism destroying the family + Socialist policies driving up the cost of living =

    Fucked over population that has very few kids.

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    • 6d

      Those are factors but realistically the big factor is urbanization. For subsistence farmers kids are an asset. For city dwellers they are a big cost.

    • 6d

      that's a factor but it's a minor one, you can tell because the west has been urbanized for a long time now and it's only in the last few decades that the birth rate has dropped, as Feminism destroyed the foundations of society and Socialist policy drove up the cost of living.

      You can't take a "Boom" as normal base value, look at the graph before the boom and after it.

  • 7d

    So all this is in the US?
    Man, I'm living in a shitty area then. The amount of smokers reached 80% of all inhabitants here. And drinking alcohol is just as popular here.

    Probably that's the surprising part why its much lower in the US than where i am.

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  • 5d

    My hypothesis is that, because political views and religiosity are about 50% heritable, and since conservatives and the religious have been having more children since the 1940s-1950s, we would naturally expect the average person to slowly become more conservative and religious over time—even if it doesn’t show up immediately.

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    • 3d

      Aren't "all the Blacks" Democratic Party voters?

  • Yeah, why are kids so smart and educated and non-violent and tolerant now? What's up with these kids?

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  • 4d

    Teenage boys are becoming more aware and going their own way. More power to them.

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  • 7d

    13 here, and yes you're right that's something I hate about my generation

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  • Interesting

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  • Nice take

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  • That’s cuz abortion is common

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    • Actually they are at like a 40 year low as well.

      What is up with kids nowadays?

    • 6d

      The abortion rate in Norway has also decreased from 15 000 abortions per year to 12 000. We've a population on 5 million. Because of contraception it decreases.

  • Interesting take, thanks for sharing!

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  • 7d

    Interesting take

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