Teen Birth Rate Increased in 26 States in 2006; Highest Rates in States With Large Hispanic, Black Populations
Teen birth rates increased in 26 states in 2006, according to CDC's National Center for Health Statistics data released on Wednesday that provide a state-by-state breakdown, USA Today reports. The data show that the birth rate in 2006 among women ages 15 to 19 increased 3% to 41.9 births per 1,000 women. The new report updates previously released data from NCHS showing that 2006 marked the end of a 34% decline in births among women ages 15 to 19 from 1991 to 2005.
According to the new report, the South and Southwest regions had the highest rates of teen births, with Mississippi reporting 68.4 births per 1,000 young women, followed by New Mexico with a rate of 64.1 and Texas with 63.1. Teen birth rates were lowest in the Northeast, and New Hampshire had the lowest rate with 18.7 births per 1,000 young women. Teen birth rates declined in New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. (Jayson, USA Today, 1/8).
The states with the highest birth rates for teens ages 15 to 19 have large proportions of black and Hispanic teens, groups that traditionally have higher birth rates, experts said.
A number of factors can contribute to teen birth rates, including culture, poverty and racial demographics, the AP/Tucson Citizen reports. Other factors include the increasing cost of and lack of available birth control and the portrayal of pregnancy in the media, said Stephanie Birch, director of maternal and child health programs at the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Some experts also say that a lack of funding for comprehensive sexual education and an increase in funding for abstinence-only programs also contributed to the increase (AP/Tucson Citizen, 1/8).
The report is available online (.pdf).