CDC: 16% More Teenage Virgins Now Than Two Decades Ago

By Lauretta Brown | June 17, 2014 | 4:45 PM EDT


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( –  Teenagers in the U.S. are waiting longer to have sex and engaging in sexual behavior less frequently than they did two decades ago, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the CDC’s "2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey" (YRBS), the number of teens nationwide who reported having sex at least once decreased 13 percent, from 54.1 percent in 1991 to 46.8 percent in 2013, which CDC characterized as "a significant linear decrease."

This decrease translates to a 16 percent increase in the number of teen virgins, from 45.9 percent in 1991 to 53.2 percent in 2013.

The number of teens reporting that they were currently sexually active was also down 9 percent, from 37.5 percent in 1991 to 34 percent in 2013.

“The national YRBS is conducted every two years during the spring semester and provides data representative of 9th through 12th grade students in public and private schools throughout the United States,” according to the CDC. It monitors “priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States.”

The percentage of children who reported having sex before the age of 13 also decreased dramatically by 45 percent, dropping from 10.2 percent in 1991 to 5.6 percent in 2013, the survey found.

Among sexually active teens, the number of sexual partners was on the decline as well, with a 20 percent decrease in those who reported having four or more sexual partners.


The most recent data on teen pregnancy and abortion - which are at historic lows after peaking in the early '90s - reflects the decreasing number of sexually active teenagers.

A Guttmacher Institute study, U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2010: National and State Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity, shows a sharp decline in teen pregnancy during the past two decades.

“In 2010, some 614,000 pregnancies occurred among teenage women aged 15–19, for a rate of 57.4 pregnancies per 1,000 women that age," the study found. “This marks a 51% decline from the 1990 peak, and a 15% decline in just two years, from 67.8 in 2008.”