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Teen birth rates vary by state

While teen births remain a national concern, the rate at which young people are having babies varies significantly from state to state, according to a new federal report.

The rate in 2008 ranged from a low of 19.8 per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19 in New Hampshire to a high of 61.8 in Arkansas, according to the report from the National Center for Health Statistics. Generally, the rates were highest in states across the south and lowest in the Northeast and upper Midwest.The rates were 33.5 in Virginia, 32.8 in Maryland and 50.9 in the District.

The rate also varied sharply by race. In 2007, which is the year for which the center had the most up-to-date breakdowns by race, the birth rate among Hispanic teens was 81.8 per 1,000, which is nearly triple the rate for white teens. Among blacks, the rate was 64.2.

But the rates varied widely among states by race. For example, the rates ranged from 4.3 among white teens in the District, to 54.8 among whites in Mississippi. Among blacks, it ranged from 17.4 in Hawai to 95.1 in Wisconsin. For Hispanics, it ranged from 31.1 in Maine to 188.3 in Alabama.

The differences probably are due to a host of reasons, including differences in such socioeconomic factors as education and income as well as sexual activity and contraceptive use and attitudes towards pregnancy and childbearing.

Teen births have been the subject of intense concern and debate. After declining for decades, the teen birth rate increased between 2005 and 2007. Some critics blamed the rise on increased federal and state support for sex education programs that focus on encouraging abstinence until marriage. Others blamed increased exposure of teens to sexual imagery in movies and television.

The Obama administration recently launched a new teen pregnancy prevention program that is providing funding to a mix of programs, including those that focus on contraception and some that emphasize abstinence.

Teenage births for 15-19 year olds by State, 2008 (CDC/NCHS National Vital Statistics System)

By Rob Stein  | October 20, 2010; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Parenting, Reproductive Health, Sex, Teens  
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looks like a map of Bush/TEA party supporters. Raise your kids right, they don't get pregnant when they're teenagers. What are those folks doing wrong?? What do all those states have in common? High levels of religiosity, lack of sex education and Conservative republican politicians.

Proof's in the pudding and the cakes are in the oven.

Posted by: thebobbob | October 20, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

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