Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Teen births down nationally, but more slowly in rural areas, where rates remain high

Teen birth rates, which are highest in rural areas, have declined nationally, but are falling more slowly in rural areas and remain higher in small towns than urban areas, says a report by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Birth rates from 2007 to 2015 of teens 15 to 19 fell 37 percent in rural areas, from 49.1 births per 1,000 girls to 30.9 births. Rates dropped 50 percent in large urban counties to 18.9 and 44 percent in small and medium urban counties to 24.3. (CDC map: Percentage change in teen birth rates for rural counties from 2007 and 2015)
The study, based on data from the National Vital Statistics System, found that "the teen birth rate in America’s small towns is 63 percent higher than in its biggest cities," Karen Kaplan reports for the Los Angeles Times. Researchers said they "don’t know why the teen birth rate was lower—and falling faster—in large urban areas than in rural ones. They did not study abortion rates between 2007 and 2015, nor did they examine whether schools in some counties were more or less likely to promote the use of birth control, or abstinence."

States have county-by-county data on teen births. For example, here are Kentucky data.

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