In 2008, the City of Milwaukee set a goal: lower the teen birth rate 46 percent by 2015. The city has surpassed the goal, three years ahead of schedule.
According to the Health Department's records, the birth rate for 15 to 17 year olds in 2006 was 52.0 births per 1,000. In 2012, the rate was 25.7 births. The goal for 2015 had been 30 births per 1,000.
The 2006 - 2012 period also marks six straight years of a declining teen birth rate in Milwaukee.
Mayor Barrett credits the drop to the city's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. The United Way of Greater Milwaukee has led the campaign to discourage teens from becoming parents, by bringing together partners to spread the message. They have included MPS, faith-based groups and media.
City Health Commissioner Began Baker says the lower rate means "more teens are going to have a better chance of finishing high school and achieving their life goals.”
Nicole Angresano of the United Way echoes Baker's sentiment. “All the young people who have chosen to forgo parenthood until adulthood have not only improved their lives but the lives of the children they will someday have when they are better prepared to be parents," Angresano says.
The campaign highlighted what it calls a particular bright spot - the teen pregnancy rate for Black 15- to 17-year-olds in Milwaukee, decreased 31 percent from 2011 to 2012.