Teen Birth Rates Increase in 26 States
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Thought teen pregnancy was a thing of the past? Well, if the well-publicized "celebrity" teen pregnancies that went down in 2008 didn't convince you, take a look at this.
Turns out Jamie Lynn Spears and Bristol Palin are way more representative of the population than previously thought. According to a new federal report, there was an increase in the rate of teen births in 26 states.
The "Miss Teen Pregnancy" crown now belongs to Mississippi, displacing New Mexico and Texas (now first and second runners up, respectively) for that lamentable title. Mississippi has a rate of 68.4 per 1,000, followed by New Mexico, with 64.1 and Texas, with 63.1. New Hampshire ranks lowest for teen pregnancies: 18.7 per 1,000.
According to the state-by-state breakdowns, these figures reveal the most dramatic increase in teen fertility since 1971. Explanations range from culture, race, and education and poverty levels, according to David Landry, a researcher at the Guttmacher Institute. And one other thing: "It's more costly for youth in the Northeast to have a teen birth than for youth in the South, in terms of opportunities they'll miss," he told the AP.
As mentioned before, certain celeb teens are in the public eye. But I don't really think we can pin this one on Jamie Lynn and Bristol; if anything they're just representative of the trend, not leading it. One could argue that refusing to teach teens about birth control and provide them with contraception might have something to do with it. Abstinence-only education could also be a contributor. Guess those promise rings and virginity pledges aren't quite having their intended effect.
All I can say is talk to your teen about sex. Again and again and again.