Study claims MTV show "16 and Pregnant" led to drop in teen births

(WXYZ) - The authors of a new study claim the popular MTV show, "16 and Pregnant," has played a major role in the decline of teen births.

The study was released by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The reality show first premiered in 2009 and has completed five seasons. Each episode follows a teen through her pregnancy and a few months after she gives birth.

To complete their study, researchers looked at Nielsen ratings for the show and compared viewership to social media data collected after each episode aired.

Researchers found Google searches and twitter mentions of words like "birth control" and "abortion" spiked after each episode.

They also found geographic regions that had the most "16 and Pregnant" viewers also showed the biggest declines in teen births.

Researchers concluded the show led to a 5.7 percent drop in teen births in the 18 months after it premiered.

Skeptics of the study point out that the teen birth rate has been on the decline for years and critics of the show say it glamorizes teen pregnancy, but the study's authors argue it's possible the show deters teens from unsafe sex by emphasizing the challenges of teen pregnancy.

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