Teenagers having less babies.

I am all about that. According to an annual study called the Kids Count, that measures the health and well-being of children and teens, less teenagers are having babies or dropping out of high school. Yet more teenagers are living in poverty. Hmmm.

The report measures each state’s progress on 10 statistics, including infant mortality, poverty rates, single-parent families and babies born with low birth weights.
States in the Northeast and upper Midwest scored the best. At the top: New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Minnesota and Iowa. Southern states did the worst: Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Nationally, there were improvements in eight of the 10 measurements in the 1990s, when the economy was booming, government-sponsored health care for children was expanded significantly and welfare reform helped move hundreds of thousands of families from welfare to work.
One issue that has continued to improve: teen pregnancies. Teenagers’ birth rates fell from 48 per 1,000 females in 2000 to 42 per 1,000 in 2003.
“We see a continuing decline in births to teenagers, but we don’t see any decline in the percent of children in single parent families,” said Wade Horn, assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Single parent families are tough, but a reality. Many women don’t want to get married, but want to have babies and more power to them. But I am all for a decrease in teenage births. More education, more resources etc., that never hurts.
OMG?! Do you think sex education is helping this situation at all?
via SeattlePI.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted June 29, 2006 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know – aren’t American public schools rolling back sex education thanks to conservatives’ efforts?
    On another note, the actual rates are higher than indicated in the blockquoted part. The rate of 48/1,000 is only the birth rate; the pregnancy rate in 2000 was 84/1,000, and the abortion rate was 24/1,000 (presumably the missing 12/1,000 pregnancies resulted in miscarriage).

  2. Mastermind
    Posted June 30, 2006 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Who funds the Annie E. Casey Foundation charity?
    And it would be interesting if the author of the article or the original report came to conclusions such as noting that a 1% increase is a “slight increase”. Considering these are stats for all of the US, I would say that it was statistically insignificant. I don’t have time to read the original report, but I hate when people draw statistical conclusions when they don’t know anything about stats.
    I would even go as far to say that the birth rate drop from 48/1000 to 42/1000 is also statistically insignificant, especially if Alon Levy’s numbers are correct. Since they don’t quote the pregnancy rate (or the breakdown of abortion/miscarriage/pregnancy), it has not meaning. They make it sound like less teen are getting pregnant, but maybe more teens are getting abortions. And I’m not trying to derail this thread into a discussion on abortion.
    So, is sex ed helping? It is probably a huge collection of things, including the culture and wealth of the region that they live. Considering that the NE and NW states scored the highest, and all of the states with the lowest scores are poorer and bible belt southern states, there is a good chance that sex ed (among other things), helps people make better life decisions.

  3. Jenna
    Posted June 30, 2006 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Psst. Sahmita:
    “Fewer”

  4. liontamer
    Posted June 30, 2006 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Actually Slate.com just did an article suggesting that the decrease in teen pregnancy reflects a decrease in male fertility.

  5. Posted July 1, 2006 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Mastermind, go here for a source about my stats (I’m using the table for “women aged 15 to 19,” 2000).

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