The number of children born every year to women under the age of 20 is around 13 million, and in this article, Insider Monkey brings you the list of 10 states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates in America.
While I am well aware that the topic in question is a sensitive matter, much like any matter nowadays, I am entitled to have an opinion about it, much like anyone is entitled to have an opinion about anything. I have no right to make judgments on people’s sexual practices nor do I intend to. Anyone who has been through their teenage years knows well enough what it is like having raging hormones control your behavior. The part of the brain in charge of decision-making is underdeveloped in teens, explaining the poor choices they make.
Teenagers rarely think about the responsibilities that come with indulging in sexual relations but only see it through the prism of the satisfaction of their body needs. The responsibility is threefold: using contraception, raising the child or experiencing the burden and the consequences of abortion. What I wish was that the issue of teen pregnancy was approached more seriously, having in mind its grave consequences. It is beyond any rational thinking that the media tries to present it as a way of life to be pursued by teens. Who would have thought that Teen Mom would go on to have so many seasons? It aggravates me to think about all the money that went into making this show instead of into something that would actually benefit society, in this particular case, sex education and promotion of birth control. The case simply embodies the degradation society is subjected to, much like that meme “Every day, we stray further from go(o)d.” does.
This is not the first time Insider Monkey decided to look into the issue of teen pregnancy. We have already published an article on countries with the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world. After a thorough research on the subject, we established that the United States of America comes first having the highest teenage pregnancy rate by country. The data showed that the birth rate in the United States is 52 per 1000. Teenage pregnancy statistics by country suggested that the United Kingdom has the 2nd highest teenage pregnancy rate in the world, while New Zealand was ranked third. This time, we decided to analyze the matter focusing on the United States only by looking into 10 states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates in America.
As Guttmacher Institute points out, teenage pregnancy rates from 1950 to present in the United States, reveal divergent trends. Teen birthrate has declined. However, the ratio of teen births out of wedlock has increased. As the research suggests, teen childbearing has decreased steeply for the period indicated, however, “the proportion of teen births that are nonmarital has increased (equally) dramatically, from 13 % in 1950 to 79 % in 2000.” The US teen abortion rate increased during the period of the 1950s to 1970s. In the 1980s it was constant, after which a steady decline began. The statistics on teenage birth rates by state suggest that Arkansas was the state with the highest teenage pregnancy rate in 2015, where the birth rate was 38 per 1000. The state with the lowest teenage pregnancy rate was Massachusetts, noting a rate of 9.4 births per 1000 girls. If we take into account teenage pregnancy statistics for 2016, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico are the states with the highest pregnancy rates, with numbers of births equal to or greater than 30 per 1000. Interestingly enough, states with abstinence only education, such as Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Arizona, are not the ones with the lowest teenage pregnancy rates. As the organization Advocates for Youth suggests, abstinence only education programs are not effective at tackling the issue of teenage pregnancy.
When drafting the list of 10 states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates in America, I have taken into account the data provided by a number of relevant sources. I have referred to the statistical data concerning teenage pregnancy rates provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. I have also considered the data on teenage pregnancy rates provided by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Given that education programs implemented in each state have an effect on teenage pregnancy rates, I have also looked into the data on which states require sex education, HIV education and abstinence-only education provided by ThoughtCo. Continue reading the article to get the info on top teenage pregnancy rates in the United States.
Wyoming is placed last on our list of states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates in America. In 2014, this state had a teenage pregnancy rate of 30.1 per 1000 girls, while in 2015 it was 29.2 per 1000. I hope the rate continues to decrease in the following years. It is estimated that teen pregnancies cost Wyoming State $23 million every year. Given such high expense, there is no question that the government should rethink its policies.
Tennessee has the 9th highest teenage pregnancy rate in the United States. The rate in 2014 was 33 per 1000, while in 2015 it was somewhat lower, 30.5 births per 1000 girls. As the statistical data shows, the teenage pregnancy rate in Tennessee shows a steady decline. The state offers sex education as well as HIV education. Furthermore, there is the Tennessee Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program which aims at preventing unplanned teenage pregnancy.
We are continuing our list of states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates in America with Kentucky which had a lower teenage birth rate in 2015, 32.4 per 1000 girls, than in 2014, 35.3 per 1000. As the data provided by America’s Health Rankings indicates, since 1992 the teenage pregnancy rate in Kentucky shows a steady decrease. The lowest was measured in 2016, 33.0 per 1000. Whatever the Kentucky government is doing, it proves to be efficient.
7. West Virginia
West Virginia was ranked 8th in the United States in 2015 with regards to teenage pregnancy rates statistics. It ranks 7th on our list of states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates in America. The rate was 31.9 births per 1000 girls. West Virginia is one of the states that require the topic of abstinence to be covered during sex education. Furthermore, the information on contraception is provided during sex education classes. As the report on teen pregnancy in West Virginia indicates, 18 % of women who obtain an abortion are teenagers.
In 2015, Louisiana’s teenage pregnancy rate was 34.1 per 1000 girls, which was 6th highest pregnancy rate in the United States. If we take into account the fact that in 1998 the teen pregnancy rate in Louisiana was 107 pregnancies per 1000 girls, it is evident that Louisiana has made a significant progress in this respect. Louisiana is one of the states that has implemented sex education where abstinence or abstinence only information is provided.
Texas is ranked 5th on our list of 10 states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates in America. Texas was also ranked 5th in 2014 and 2015 national ranking. Its 2015 teenage pregnancy rate, 34.6 per 1000, was lower than that of 2015, 37.8 per 1000. While the improvement is notable, the ranking of Texas suggests that a policy reform is necessary in order to effectively reduce teenage pregnancy rate. Texas offers no sex education or HIV education to its youth, which probably explains the high number of teen pregnancies.
4. New Mexico
In 2015, New Mexico’s teenage pregnancy rate was 34.6 per 1000 girls. That is somewhat lower than the teenage pregnancy rate in 2014, which was 37.8 per 1000. It is estimated that the teenage pregnancy rate of New Mexico has decreased by 42 % during the period from 1998 to 2011. While the improvement is evident, the rate of teenage pregnancy is not decreasing as quickly as in the rest of the United States. Sex education in New Mexico includes information on contraception as well as abstinence.
The teenage pregnancy rate in the state of Mississippi in 2015 was 34.8 per 1000 girls, ranking it 3rd in the nation and 3rd on our list. Mississippi is among the states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates which does not provide sex education or HIV education to its youth. On the other hand, abstinence is promoted as the best, and perhaps the only, way to avoid unplanned pregnancy. National Conference of State Legislatures points out that the public cost of teen pregnancy in 2010 was $137 million.
Oklahoma has the 2nd highest teenage pregnancy rate in the United States and these are some devastating figures: in 2014, the teenage pregnancy rate was 38.5 per 1000 girls and in 2015, it was 34.8 per 1000. While statistics indicate that some improvement was made, there is still a lot of work to do. The integral part of sex education in this state is learning about abstinence and contraception. Tulsa campaign to prevent teen pregnancy points out that in 2015, 60 out of 4,391 births occurred to girls aged 10 to 14.
Arkansas is the state with the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the United States for some years now and such data places it at the top of our list of 10 states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates in America. In 2015, the teenage pregnancy rate was 38 per 1000 girls, which suggests that there was an improvement if we consider the statistical data for 1998 when the teenage pregnancy rate in Arkansas was 114 per 1000 girls. Despite promising numbers, Arkansas still has a long way to go to tackle the issue. Perhaps the government should think about making changes to sex education programs where currently abstinence is being promoted as the best way to not get pregnant.
This was Insider Monkey’s list of 10 states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates in America.