Examining State-Level Teen Birth Rates

In Examining State-Level Patterns in Teen Childbearing: 1991 to 2009, a research brief published by Child Trends, authors Mary Terzian and Kristin Moore use state-level data to examine declines in the teen birth rate over 19 years, from 1991 to 2009, including the uptick in 2006 and 2007. The author’s findings suggest “substantial variation in the teen birth rate across states, (ranging across states from 16 to 64 births per 1,000 15-19 year-old females in 2009) and also in the amount of decline over this timeframe.” 

Four different patterns of decline emerged: (a) High start rate (in 1991)/sharp uptick; (b) Medium-high start rate/modest uptick; (c) Medium-low start rate/modest uptick; and (d) Low start rate/modest uptick. The authors conclude that further research is needed to examine how policy and environmental factors may explain state-level differences in the teen birth rate. 

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