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Whatever happened to last year's breakout stars?
The teenage birthrate in the United States fell to a record low in 2011, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers documented an 8 percent drop in teen births between 2010 and 2011, with just over 3 percent of 15- to 19-year-olds having babies during that period.
This is bad news for Teen Mom producers, but probably good news for everyone else.
Women in their 20s were also less likely to have babies than in previous years, and the birthrate among women in their their late 30s and early 40s actually increased, according to the report.
Researchers say that women in their 20s delaying motherhood, and the parallel trend of more women having kids in their 30s and 40s could be the result of a long-struggling economy. “The economy has declined, and that certainly is a factor that goes into people’s decisions about having a child,” CDC statistician Brady Hamilton, lead author of the new report, told Reuters Health.
“Women may say to themselves, ‘It’s not a particularly good time right now … let’s wait a little bit,’” he added.
But teenagers aren’t famously pragmatic (or so I’ve heard), making it less likely that “now is not a good time” and financial planning factored heavily into the dramatic drop in teen births.
And that’s where birth control comes in, thankyouverymuch.
Yes, birth control. Apparently it’s good for something other than playing political football with.
“I think the main thing behind this [data] is increased contraceptive use, and better contraceptive use,” Dr. Krishna Upadhya, who studies teen pregnancy at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore but was not involved in the new research, told Reuters Health.
She also credited programs and policies that give teens access to contraception through schools and health clinics with the shift. “It’s definitely consistent with the trends that we’ve seen, and it’s obviously good news overall,” she said.
Case in point: New York City has worked to make it easier for teens to get birth control by giving out condoms at schools and making birth control and the morning-after pill available in some school clinics, a move that has resulted in a 27 percent decrease in teen births over the last decade.
While rates of teen pregnancy remain higher in New York City than national numbers, it has fallen at a sharper rate, experts say. And public heath advocates say that expanding the policies and programs that make birth control widely available will help reduce that number even further. But the most important thing is that teens know these programs exist, Estelle Raboni, director of Changing the Odds, an anti-teen pregnancy program at the Morris Heights Health Center in the Bronx, told the New York Daily News.
“Teens don’t always know about their rights. They don’t know they have access to those services,” she said.
The star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” charmed practically everyone at the Oscars, where she was the youngest best actress nominee ever; she went on to film a remake of “Annie” opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen, who had 2012’s song of the summer with “Call Me Maybe,” released the fifth and final single from her debut album in January 2013. She toured the U.S. in mid-2013 -- just as Daft Punk and Robin Thicke battled to succeed her as icons of the summer.
Honey Boo Boo
2012’s biggest reality star, the young pageant contestant Alana Thompson, had a quieter time this year, with a second season whose ratings were strong but whose buzz was a bit muted. America was, by now, accustomed to young Thompson, and outraged or scandalized reactions were reserved for other TLC programming, like “The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum.”
Ocean missed out on the top Grammys for which he was nominated in early 2013; he bounced back quickly with featured appearances on albums by Kanye West, Jay Z and Beyoncé, and is at work on a new album. Things are looking up!
The “21 Jump Street” and “Magic Mike” star had a marginally less charmed 2013, with “White House Down” failing to connect with moviegoers and “Foxcatcher” delayed until next year. It may get worse before it gets better: His big 2014 sci-fi flick, “Jupiter Ascending,” looks … well, a little weird!
With their third album in 21 months hitting No. 1 immediately upon its fall 2013 release, the boy band that broke into America in 2012 would seem to be here to stay for a while. Still, they looked a bit nervous in their reaction shots during the Video Music Awards’ ‘N Sync reunion; maybe not this year, maybe not next, but eventually, the Justin of One Direction is going to break out. For now, though, things look good!
Lana Del Rey
The famously uncomfortable “Saturday Night Live” musical guest overcame endless mockery from 2012 to land her first top-10 hit in the summer of 2013 -- a remix of a year-old song, “Summertime Sadness.” As the co-writer of “Young and Beautiful,” the love theme from “The Great Gatsby,” Del Rey is such a front-runner for the best original song Oscar (last won by Adele) that there has been a direct-mail campaign to academy voters against her. The song was also played at the most romantic event of the year: Kanye West’s stadium marriage proposal to Kim Kardashian.
Wilson, who charmed fans of 2012’s “Pitch Perfect,” had a rockier 2013, with her sitcom “Super Fun Night” struggling creatively and in the ratings. Her next planned movies are both sequels, to “Kung Fu Panda” and -- hoping lightning will strike twice -- to “Pitch Perfect.”
Another 2012 music icon, Gotye won the record of the year trophy at the 2013 Grammys for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” He released no new singles in 2013, and has told the press he has been struggling to complete new material. Good luck, Gotye!
The golden boy of the 2012 Olympics, without feats of aquatic derring-do to distract the public this year, saw his always-tenuous persona completely shift from “amiable jock” into “utter dolt” with his E! reality series. Worst of all, the series was canceled.
In 2012, the young actress -- best known for her role in the indie “Winter’s Bone” and a supporting part in the “X-Men” franchise -- had marquee roles in the first “Hunger Games” film and in David O. Russell’s comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.” In 2013, she played to her strengths: After winning an Oscar, she starred in the second “Hunger Games” movie, on whose publicity tour she managed to charm everyone in America, and had another role in a David O. Russell comedy, “American Hustle,” for which she might just win ANOTHER Oscar. By 2014, she may end up running a major studio, or serving as president.
The breakout bikini model of 2012 made a repeat appearance on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue -- and got to do high-fashion spreads in Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She was cast in a Cameron Diaz comedy, too. Some types of appeal are eternal!
E. L. James
The “50 Shades” novelist now gets to help share some input into a movie adaptation set for release in 2015. She probably never needs to work again! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that … just … great?
The “Gangnam Style” phenom performed at New Year’s 2013, but will spend New Year’s 2014 flipping channels to find his pistachio ad, his goofy antics having been outdone in the past year by “The Fox” singers Ylvis. Nothing meme can stay.
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