Teen birth rates significantly increased in 26 of the 50 states in 2006, according to a newly released report by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
The report, Births: Final Data for 2006 (pdf), includes state-by-state teen birth rate statistics based on all birth certificates issued in 2006.
An estimated 435,000 of the nation's 4.3 million births in 2006 were to mother’s ages 15 through 19. That’s was about 21,000 more teen births than in 2005.
"To see 26 states with statistically significant increases is fairly remarkable," said Paul Sutton, a demographer with the National Center for Health Statistics. "We're seeing increases in both the number of teens having births and at the rate at which they are having births. Both are going up."
Critics suggest one factor for the increase may be recent federal funding for so-called abstinence-only education that lacks teaching teenagers about contraceptives. Others cite Hollywood as to blame, for glamorizing unwed pregnant mothers in movies such as Juno.
Report statistics include:
The South and Southwest had the highest teen birth rates in Mississippi at 68.4 percent, Mexico at 64.1 percent and Texas at 63.1 percent. Mississippi often performs badly in health rankings. For example, 33 percent of its population is obese, the highest in the nation.
The Northeast had the lowest teen birth rates in New Hampshire at 18.7 percent, Vermont 20.8 percent and Massachusetts at 21.3 percent.
New York, North Dakota and Rhode Island are the only states that reported a decrease in teen birth rates between 2005 and 2006, the report said.
Between 2005 and 2006, birth rates increased 3 percent to 4 percent each for American Indian, non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic-white or Alaska Native teens and 2 percent for Hispanic teens. The teen birth rate for Asian or Pacific Islander teens remained the same, the report said.
For unwed women, the birth rate increased 7 percent between 2005 and 2006, hitting 50.6 per 1,000 unmarried women between 15 and 44 years old. This rise is at an all time high with reasons being attributed to the same as teenage pregnancies.
The data on the abortion rates will be available in late 2009 or possibly early 2010, which could help portray a clearer picture concerning the increase in teenage pregnancy.
Another recent study, in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests teens who watch TV with a lot of sexual content are much more likely than their peers to get pregnant or get a partner pregnant.
A three-year study conducted by researchers at RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, is the first to directly associate viewing suggestive television programming with risky sexual behavior by teenagers. #