Updated Thursday morning
New York State has one of the lower teen birth rates in the nation, according to numbers out this week from the National Center for Health Statistics.
The Empire State's rate was 22.6 births per 1000 women ages 15-19 in 2010. Only eight states had lower rates (check out the map above). The national average was 34.3. The lowest state was New Hampshire (15.7), the highest Mississippi (55.0).
Teen birth rates have been dropping across the country since the early 1990s. Some perspective: New York State's rate was 45.5 in 1991 -- it's dropped almost every year since (source).
Nationally, he NCHS says "fewer babies were born to teenagers in 2010 than in any year since 1946." And the national rate is the lowest it's been in the seven decades that reliable numbers are available.
So, why's this happening? From the report:
The impact of strong pregnancy prevention messages directed to teenagers has been credited with the birth rate declines (9-11). Recently released data from the National Survey of Family Growth, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), have shown increased use of contraception at first initiation of sex and use of dual methods of contraception (that is, condoms and hormonal methods) among sexually active female and male teenagers. These trends may have contributed to the recent birth rate declines (12).
Curious about the Capital Region, we looked up the rates for the local core counties...
Teen birth rate - Capital Region counties
The latest data we could find on the state Department of Health's website are for 2007-2009 (teen pregnancy rate in parentheses).
Albany County: 20.2 (32.9)
Rensselaer County: 27.2 (37.3)
Saratoga County: 15.5 (28.0)
Schenectady County: 24.2 (54.8)
The NYS DOH also breaks out the numbers by ZIP code (linked above for each county name). Some of the disparities are striking. For example, in Albany County the rate for the 12203 ZIP code (western part of the city of Albany, parts of Guilderland) is 6.6. The rate for 12210 (parts of downtown Albany) is 93.9.
Update in response to Amanda's comment below:
The new report from NCHS doesn't include the teen pregnancy rate -- but the NYS DOH numbers above do (updated above). And in some cases, there's what appears to be a sizable gap between the rate of teen pregnancy and the rate of births to teens. (Of course, abortions don't account for the entire gap.)
There are state-by-state numbers from The Guttmacher Institute for 2005 (pdf). It reports that New York State's teen pregnancy rate that year was 77 per 1,0000 for women ages 15-19 -- and the birth rate was 27. The state's teen abortion rate was 41 -- the highest in the country.
National data and map from "Hamilton BE, Ventura SJ. Birth rates for U.S. teenagers reach historic lows for all age and ethnic groups. NCHS data brief, no 89. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2012." 2010 data are preliminary.
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