U.S. pregnancy and abortion rates have both hit record lows, according to a new report using 20 years of data through 2010.
Pregnancies fell to 6.155 million in 2010, the lowest number since 1986, according to researchers.
"The pregnancy rate for women in the United States continued to decline in 2010, to 98.7 per 1,000 women aged 15-44, a record low for the 1976-2010 period. This level was 15 percent below the 1990 peak," said Sally Curtin and Joyce Abma of the National Center for Health Statistics, or NCHS, and Kathryn Kost of the Guttmacher Institute.
Abortions fell by 35 percent, with just 17.7 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, according to the NCHS, a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Abortion has been on a nearly steady decline since the rate peaked in 1980," said Curtin.
Kost said “highly effective” methods of birth control were an important trend for driving down the abortion rate.
While the latest data is from 2010, there is evidence that the birth rate rose by 1 percent in 2014, largely because of older women having children.
Researchers did not give reasons for the drop in pregnancies, but other studies show that half of the pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.The U.S. teen birth rate is seven times that of some other developed countries.
"Across the states, the rate of unintended pregnancy is going down," Kost said. "That suggests that fewer women are getting pregnant when they don't want to. It's happening across the board, and affects the birth rate and the abortion rate."