Teen Birth Rates Highest in Southeast

CDC Report Shows Mississippi Has Highest Teenage Birth Rate and New Hampshire the Lowest

Medically Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on October 20, 2010
From the WebMD Archives

Oct. 20, 2010 -- Teenage birth rates are highest in states across the Southern part of the country and lowest in the Northeast and upper Midwest, the CDC says in a new report.

Teen birth rates in 2008 ranged from less than 25 per 1,000 young women between 15 and 19 in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont to more than 60 per 1,000 in Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, according to a report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The CDC report shows that:

  • The birth rate for Hispanic teenagers aged 15 to 19 in 2007 (81.8 per 1,000) was nearly three times the rate for non-Hispanic white teenagers (27.2 per 1,000).
  • The birth rate for non-Hispanic black teenagers (64.2 per 1,000) was more than twice the rate for non-Hispanic white teenagers.
  • In 2007, the birth rates in non-Hispanic white teenagers aged 15 to19 ranged from 4.3 per 1,000 in the District of Columbia to 54.8 per 1,000 in Mississippi; birth rates for non-Hispanic black teenagers ranged from 17.4 per 1,000 in Hawaii to 95.1 per 1,000 in Wisconsin; birth rates for Hispanic teenagers ranged from 31.1 per 1,000 in Maine to 188.3 per 1,000 in Alabama.
  • Birth rates for non-Hispanic white teens were highest in the Southeast, while birth rates for non-Hispanic black teenagers were highest in the Southeast and upper Midwestern states. Birth rates in Hispanic teens were highest in the Southeast.
  • Though teen birth rates fell nationally and in 14 states from 2007 to 2008, the U.S. rate remains substantially higher than for other Western countries.

Teen Birth Rates by State

Important disparities in teen birth rates exist among states, the CDC says. The overall teen birth rate per 1,000 for the U.S. was 41.5 in 2008 and was highest in Mississippi at 65.7, followed by New Mexico at 64.1, Texas at 63.4, Arkansas at 61.8, Oklahoma at 61.6, Arizona at 56.2, and Kentucky and Tennessee at 55.6.

New Hampshire had the lowest birth rate per 1,000 teens at 19.8. Other states with the lowest birth rates were Massachusetts at 20.1, Vermont at 21.3, Connecticut at 22.9, New Jersey at 24.5, New York at 25.5, Maine at 26.1, Minnesota at 27.2, Rhode Island at 28.5, and North Dakota at 28.6.

The authors of the report explain that variations in teen birth rates reflect differences in socioeconomic factors, including education, income, risk behaviors such as sexual activity and contraceptive use, but also general attitudes about pregnancy and childbearing.