More Teens Having Babies in the South and Southwest

Mother hold feets newborn baby. (PHOTO CREDIT: iStockphoto)
Mother hold feets newborn baby. (PHOTO CREDIT: iStockphoto)

More teens are having babies in the South and Southwest while the fewest are in the Northeast, according to new state-by-state breakdowns of federal data out Wednesday.

Births per 1,000 teenagers (ages 15–19) range from a low of 13.8 in New Hampshire to a high of 47.5 in New Mexico, according to the report from the National Center for Health Statistics based on 2012 data, the most recent available for the states.

In addition to the wide state variations, the same can be said for racial and ethnic breakdowns. Asian or Pacific Islanders had the lowest 2012 rate at 9.7, compared with Hispanic teens who had the highest rate at 46.3. Rates for the other groups are 20.5 for white, 34.9 for American Indian or Alaska Native and 43.9 for black teens.

“Birth rates for Hispanic teens are higher than for other groups,” says demographer Stephanie Ventura, the report’s co-author. “Right now, even though they dropped a tremendous amount, they are still higher than other groups. At one time, rates for blacks were higher but now Hispanics are higher.”

The report takes an historical perspective, showing just how much has changed in more than a half-century. The record high for birth rates was in 1957 with 96.3 births per 1,000 teens compared with 2013 preliminary data showing 26.6 births per 1,000 teens. Overall, teen childbearing across the USA has been on the decline except for a few periodic increases.

Teen moms today are typically not married, while their counterparts of the 1950s were largely married women.

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SOURCE: USA Today
Sharon Jayson

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