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Teen birth rates fall across the nation

Posted: Friday, August 03, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Alaska had one of the most dramatic drops in teen birth rates, according to state-by-state figures on government birth data being released Friday for 1999.

The rate fell in every state, dropping by more than 30 percent in Alaska, Michigan, California, Maine and Vermont between 1991 and 1999, according to Child Trends, a research firm that analyzed the birth data.

But teen birth rates continue to vary widely across the country.

Nationally, the birth rate fell 22 percent between 1991 and 2000, when 48.7 out of every 1,000 women ages 15 to 19 gave birth. Pregnancy rates, which account for abortion, also have fallen.

In Delaware and Texas, it fell the least, by just 11 percent.

There also are wide variations in the birth rates themselves. In New Hampshire, just 24 out of every 1,000 15-to-19-year-old women gave birth in 1999. In Mississippi, it was three times that -- 73 out of 1,000.

Southern and Southeastern states have the highest teen birth rates, with upper Northeastern and some Northern states typically having much lower rates.

The data being released Friday also give teen birth rates for the 150 largest U.S. cities.

Child Trends researchers noted that 13 states have rates that are higher than Armenia, one of the few developed counties with a comparable teen birth rate.

Nationally, the teen birth rate fell markedly through the 1970s and early 1980s and then spiked up between 1986 and 1991 before it began falling again.

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On the Net: Child Trends: http://www.childtrends.org



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