New Report Reveals Wide State Variation in Teen Birth Rate

Washington, DC – Teens in some states are much more likely to have a baby than are teens in other states, according to the 2007 edition of Child Trends’ annual Facts At A Glance.  A state-by-state ranking shows:

 

  • Texas has the highest teen birth rate (63 births for every 1,000 female teens ages 15-19), followed closely by Mississippi, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Arizona.
  • New Hampshire has the lowest teen birth rate (18 births for every 1,000 female teens), followed closely by Vermont and Massachusetts.
  • States with the lowest teen birth rates are in the Northeast, while those with the highest rates are in the South and Southwest.

The report also finds that the national teen birth rate is at an historic low, continuing a 14-year decline in the proportion of teens who become mothers.  Among the positive findings highlighted in the report:

 

  • The 2005 birth rate for teens ages 15-19 was 40.4 births for every 1,000 female teens – 35 percent lower than the recent peak in 1991 of 61.8, 15 percent lower than the 2000 rate of 47.7 and a 2 percent decline from the 2004 rate of 41.1.
  • Birth rates varied across racial and ethnic groups, but all are at historic lows.  The 2005 birth rate was 26.0 for white teen females, 60.9 for non-Hispanic black teen females, and 81.5 for Hispanic teen females.
  • Since 1991, the teen birth rate has declined in all states, with those declines ranging from 14.5 percent in Nebraska to 46.4 percent in Vermont.

“The trend lines on teen births are generally moving in the right direction, and we should pause and savor that fact,” says Jennifer Manlove, Ph.D., who helped prepare the report. “But it is far too early to declare this problem ‘solved’ since the U.S. teen birth rate is still higher than that of any other developed nation.”

 

The report is based primarily on Child Trends’ analyses of preliminary data on births from theNational Center for Health Statistics for 2005, the most recent year for which such data are available.  State-level data are from 2004.

 

Facts At A Glance also provides national and state-level statistics on teen birth rates by marital status, as well as statistics showing the percentage of low birth weight babies born to female teens; taxpayer costs associated with teen childbearing; and teen sexual behavior (in particular, the percentage of students in grades nine through 12 who say that they practice abstinence and the proportion of sexually active students in these grades who say they used a condom the last time that they had sex).

 

Production and dissemination of Facts At A Glance is made possible by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

 

Child Trends is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center serving those dedicated to creating better lives for children. For more information about Child Trends, visit www.childtrends.org

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