Despite Record Low U.S. Teen Birth Rate, State Teen Birth Rates Vary Widely--Repeat Teen Births Also Vary Across Cities

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The 2011 edition of Child Trends' annual Facts at a Glance contains the latest national, state and city-level data on teen birth rates. Although teen birth rates in the United States have declined overall since the early 1990s and are currently at a historic low, teen birth rates vary widely across states, as do the percentages of teen births in large cities.

State and City Facts at a Glance on Teen Birth Rates

We highlight cities with high rates of repeat teen births because having a second teen birth further compounds educational, economic, health, and developmental challenges associated with teen childbearing.

Nationally, birth rates for all teens decreased in 2009 to 39.1 births per 1,000 young women between the ages of 15 and 19. However, the latest state data on teen birth rates (from 2008) show wide variation:

--Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas have the highest teen birth rates (66 births for every 1,000 female teens ages 15-19; 64 births, 63 births respectively)

--New Hampshire has the lowest teen birth rate (19.8 births for every 1,000 female teens), followed closely by Massachusetts at 20 births per 1,000 female teens and Vermont at 21 births per 1,000 female teens.

The report, which is based primarily on Child Trends' analyses of data from the National Center for Health Statistics, also includes teen birth data for large cities, as well as data on repeat teen births – births that occur to teens who have already had a baby. Nationally, one in five teen births (19%) are repeat teen births. Teen birth data (from 2008) for 72 of the largest cities in the U.S. highlight differences in the percentage of teen births that are repeat births:

--Cincinnati, OH has the highest percentage of teen births that are repeat births (28% of all teen births in the city are repeat births), followed by Jackson, MS (27%), and Dallas, TX (26%).

--Boston, MA and Seattle, WA have the lowest percentage of teen births that are repeat births (12% of all teen births in each city are repeat births), followed by two cities at 13% (Virginia Beach, VA and New York, NY).

Report Includes City Level Data

“We highlight cities with high rates of repeat teen births because having a second teen birth further compounds educational, economic, health, and developmental challenges associated with teen childbearing,“ said co-author, Jennifer Manlove, Senior Research Scientist at Child Trends.

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Marci McCoy-Roth
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