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Teen births down in Iowa, nationwide, CDC says


This news story was published on April 11, 2012.
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Steve Gravelle, CR Gazette –

The birth rate among teenagers continued to fall in 2010, with Iowa tracking the national trend, according to a report released today.

The Centers for Disease Control report found teen births at their lowest since 1940, at 34 births per 1,000 girls age 15-19. Iowa’s 2010 teen birth rate was 28.6 per 1,000, down 13 percent since 2007.

“It’s not a surprise, but it’s good to have the trend going down as it is,” said Michael Crawford, director of Iowa Kids Count and senior associate at the Child and Family Policy Center in Des Moines.

Iowa’s rate is 34th in the nation.

Crawford said social and economic factors play a role in the generational decline in teen births.

“There’s fewer people getting married in their teens” compared to the 1950s and ’60s when it wasn’t uncommon for couples to marry soon after high school, Crawford said.

Despite the recession, the trend may also indicate better economic prospects for young women, Crawford said.

“Sometimes young women who feel like they don’t have a future are apt to become pregnant at a younger age,” he said. “(Now), maybe they’re going to delay birth.”

The CDC report released Tuesday focused on state figures. The authors say the teen declines have been attributed to pregnancy prevention efforts. They note that a recent government survey showed more use of contraception by teens.

Even as it leads the nation with 55 teen births per 1,000 girls, Mississippi’s rate has been falling like everywhere else. It dropped 21 percent over three years. New Hampshire has the lowest teen birth rate at just under 16.

Since 1991, the overall teen rate has dropped by 44 percent. Without that decline, the authors calculated, there would have been 3.4 million more babies born to girls by 2010.

State list with the rate per 1,000 teenage girls:

—- 1. Mississippi 55

—- 2. New Mexico 52.9

—- 3. Arkansas 52.5

—- 4. Texas 52.2

—- 5.Oklahoma 50.4

—- 6. Louisiana 47.7

—- 7. Kentucky 46.2

—- 8. West Virginia 44.8

—- 9. Alabama 43.6

—- 10. Tennessee 43.2

—- 11. South Carolina 42.5

—- 12. Arizona 42.4

—- 13. Georgia 41.4

—- 14. Kansas 39.2

—- 15.Wyoming 39

—- 16. Nevada 38.6

—- 17. Alaska 38.3

—- 17. North Carolina 38.3

—- 19. Indiana 37.3

—- 20. Missouri 37.1

—- 21. Montana 35

—- 22. South Dakota 34.9

—- 23. Ohio 34.2

—- 24. Colorado 33.4

—- 25. Idaho 33

—- 25 Illinois 33

—- 27. Hawaii 32.5

—- 28. Florida 32

—- 29. California 31.5

—- 30. Nebraska 31.1

—- 31. Delaware 30.5

—- 32. Michigan 30.1

—- 33. North Dakota 28.8

—- 34. Iowa 28.6

—- 35. Oregon 28.1

—- 36. Utah 27.9

—- 37. Virginia 27.4

—- 38. Maryland 27.2

—- 39. Pennsylvania 27

—- 40. Washington 26.7

—- 41. Wisconsin 26.2

—- 42. New York 22.6

—- 43. Minnesota 22.5

—- 44. Rhode Island 22.3

—- 45. Maine 21.4

—- 46. New Jersey 20.3

—- 47. Connecticut 18.9

—- 48. Vermont 17.9

—- 49. Massachusetts 17.1

—- 50. New Hampshire 15.7

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