With shows like Teen Mom raking in the ratings, teenage girls everywhere seem to be getting knocked up. Fictional programs such as Skins, Gossip Girl and the like aren't exactly helping public perception, either. But apparently teen pregnancies have been declining in recent years. So who exactly do we have to thank?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010's teen pregnancy rate was the lowest ever recorded. So are high school students having less sex, or just being more careful about it? Apparently, it's a combination of the two, and, "experts credit a combination of birth control availability and abstinence" to the good news.

Nonetheless, Americans still have one of the highest birth rates in the industrialized world (which could be good or bad, depending on your views), "and unplanned pregnancy still costs the government (and, by extension, the taxpayers) billions per year."

On a side note, states with legislators that promote anti-birth control regulations tend to have the largest numbers of teen pregnancy rates in the US. In Mississippi, 55 teenage girls out of 1,000 get pregnant, and Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Alabama have high numbers as well.

While some think that shows like Teen Mom glamorize young pregnancies and make girls want to have babies, I'd like to take an optimistic standpoint and say that they're scaring youngsters away from having unprotected sex (or none at all). While many of the show's stars do get fame (and probably a bit of money), Teen Mom has also documented domestic violence, poverty and lots of sleepless nights as well. [via Jezebel]

What do you think of the declining teen pregnancy rate? What do you attribute it to?

Image source