U.S. Teen Birth Rate Highest in the South

ATLANTA, Oct. 20 (UPI) — Despite two decades of declining U.S. teenage birth rates — women ages 15-19 — state birth rates vary significantly, federal health officials say.

A report by the National Vital Statistics System, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released Wednesday says in 2007, state teen birth rates ranged from less than 25 per 1,000 in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont to more than 60 per 1,000 in Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Birth rates for white teenagers ranged from less than 10 births per 1,000 non-Hispanic in Connecticut, the District of Columbia and New Jersey to 50 or more births per 1,000 in Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi.

Teen births for non-Hispanic black teenagers ranged from less than 40 births per 1,000 in Hawaii, Massachusetts and New York to more than 80 births per 1,000 in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Birth rates for Hispanic teens ranged from less than 60 births per 1,000 Hispanic women in Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, New York and West Virginia to more than 120 births per 1,000 in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Teen birth rates fell nationally and in 14 states from 2007 to 2008, but the U.S. birth rate — about 400,000 births a year — remains substantially higher than for other Western countries, the report says.

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