Comparing State Trends in U.S. Teen Birth Rates: 1981 - 2009

Ronna Popkin, Columbia University
John Santelli, Columbia University
Douglas Kirby, Educational, Training and Research Associates

Previous research on U.S. teenage childbearing shows that rates of teen births vary among states and nationally by race/ethnicity; however, few studies have examined state trends in teen childbearing by race/ethnicity prior to 1990. We calculated annual state teen birth rates from 1981-2009 and proportional changes in rates from 1986-1991, 1991-2005, and 1981-2009 by race/ethnicity in every state. Sizable variation existed within and among states in their race/ethnicity-specific teen birth rates and proportional changes. White teen rates were consistently much lower than black and Hispanic rates; however, blacks experienced the greatest proportional decline from 1981-2009, while Hispanic rates changed little. States with the greatest teen birth rate increases in the 1980s were among those showing the largest declines in the 1990s. While many state trends mirrored those at the national-level, some diverged greatly, especially among blacks. Future research is needed on state-level factors potentially driving these important patterns.

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Presented in Poster Session 2