teen birth rate, birth rate trends
pre/neo-natal care, high school completion, health equity, child poverty
Teen pregnancy refers to women, aged 15-19 years old, who have given birth.
Why does teen pregnancy matter?
Teen pregnancy has important negative economic and social implications for both the mother and child. Patterns show that pregnant mothers are more likely to have hindered education and career achievement, thus earning lower wages over their lifetime. Teen mothers are also more likely to be in low socioeconomic status. Socioeconomic status, or SES, is measured as education, income and occupation and is conceptually thought of as a social class. Children from low socioeconomic backgrounds are typically faced with decreased resources and health care, and increased stress which in turn, leads to lower academic achievement. When the child grows up, they are at much greater risk for unemployment, dropout, committing violent offenses, incarceration, and early parenthood in young adulthood. Furthermore, it creates a national problem because the tax payers are paying extra costs in welfare, health and foster care.
How do we measure teen pregnancy?
In an effort to more accurately examine the effects of teen pregnancy, only the number of actual births are used. The Public Policy Center uses birth rate to measure the number of births in the community. Teen birth rate is the number of women, aged 15-19, that give birth out of 1,000 women in that population.
How is Fall River doing?
1. Teen birth rate: 32 per 1,000 women ages 15-19
Although Massachusetts is one of the states with the lowest birth rates, their urban communities have substantially higher teen birth rates than the national average. In 2013, 32 out of every 1,000 Fall River women ages 15-19 gave birth. As of 2013, Fall River ranked 8th in the state for highest teen birth rate.
2. Percent change in birth rate: -45% (2007-2013)
The national and state teen birth rates are declining. The same trend applies for Fall River. From 2007 to 2013, the teen birth rate in Fall River declined by 45 percent.
How is New Bedford doing?
1. Teen birth rate: 41.5 per 1,000 women, aged 15-19
Although Massachusetts is one of the states with the lowest birth rates, their urban communities have substantially higher teen birth rates than the national average. As of 2013, New Bedford ranked 5th in the state for highest teen birth rate.
2. Percent change in birth rate: -37% (2007-2013)
Fortunately, the national, state and city teen birth rates are declining. Since 2007, the change in birth rate has dropped 37% in New Bedford. Birth rate fell from 66.7 births per 1,000 teenage women in 2007, to 41.5 in 2013.
What’s being done to address teen birth rates, and where can I learn more?
State and City Based Programs
On the regional level, SouthCoast Hospital offers the RAPPP Program (Responsible Attitudes toward Pregnancy, Parenting & Prevention), an adolescent and young adult pregnancy prevention program designed for high and junior high school’s health or science systems. The curriculum includes topics such as abstinence, contraception, STI’s, pregnancy, parenting, financial responsibilities, and much more. RAPPP has numerous outreach programs and has been able to help more than 47,500 teens and parents in the Greater New Bedford area.
On a state level, Massachusetts has the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy that focuses on three missions; promoting safe sex behavior, empowering teenagers and young adults, and acting as an advocate in public policy to prevent teen pregnancy.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention operates on a national level to integrate services, programs and strategies through initiatives to prevent teen pregnancies. They offer a comprehensive list of other national services aimed at teen pregnancy prevention here.
Births (Vital Records). Massachusetts Community Health Information Profile (MassCHIP). Version 3.0r325. Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health.via Massachusetts Alliance On Teen Pregnancy
O’Keefe, G., Cohen, B., & Nyberg, S. (2015, January). Massachusetts Births 2013. Boston: Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Last updated: Sept. 10, 2015 MM