A new economic study of Nielsen TV ratings and birth records suggests that the controversial MTV show "16 and Pregnant" may have prevented more than 20,000 births to teenage mothers in 2010, according to a story in the New York Times.

The research from the National Bureau of Economic Research makes the case that ht programs reduced the teenage birthrate by nearly 6 percent. The study looked at birth records and TV ratings and found that teenage pregnancy declined faster in areas where teenagers were watching more MTV programming, including "16 and Pregnant", than in areas where they didn't. They also found that social-media postings about contraception and Internet searches about  it spiked sharply whenever the show was being broadcast.

[New York Times]