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State teen pregnancy rate at record low

Posted October 18, 2010

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— North Carolina's teen pregnancy rate fell to a record low last year, figures released Monday show.

Fifty-six of every 1,000 teen girls ages 15 to 19 became pregnant in 2009, according to data compiled by the state Department of Health and Human Services. In 2008, 58.6 of every 1,000 girls in North Carolina became pregnant.

Pregnancy rates fell across all age, racial and ethnic categories, as well as in about two-thirds of North Carolina's 100 counties. Abortion rates also decreased in all categories.

Significant disparities still exist between racial and ethnic groups, however. The pregnancy rate among white teens was 45.4 per 1,000 girls, while the corresponding rate for all minority teens was 74.3, including 118.4 for only Hispanic teens.

"We're seeing the payoff from the North Carolina General Assembly's strategic investment in proven programs to help our most needy counties lower their rates," Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina Executive Director Kay Phillips said in a statement.

Phillips cited as an example, the new Healthy Youth Act, which requires schools to provide seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders with medically accurate information on the prevention of pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as building healthy relationships.

"The new law will allow us to continue to improve our pregnancy rates and also focus on STD rates, which are an increasing problem among young people," State Health Director Dr. Jeffrey Engel said in a statement.

The state's teen pregnancy rate has steadily dropped since 1991, following a spike in the late 1980s. Yet, the state still has the nation's 14th highest rate.


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  • efinley Oct 18, 2010

    I work for the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of NC (APPCNC), the group that released these numbers to WRAL.

    About minority numbers: NC tracks race and ethnicity separately. The white population includes most Hispanic teens. The minority rate includes African American, Native American, Asian, etc. Hispanic #s are listed separately b/c they're so high

    I'm really happy to see that so many comments here say the rate is still too high, and that so many comments identify that hearing from parents and having a positive vision of the future are ways to prevent pregnancy.

    The Healthy Youth Act is great. It means almost all teens will get basic health and safety info. But, a big change in pregnancy rates needs to involve the entire community. Parents need to have real conversations with their kids that involve more than just saying, "don't do it." Communities need to set high expectations for teens but give them the info they need to make good choices.

  • WooHoo2You Oct 18, 2010

    I love how only on golo "good news" is twisted by it's users to "bad news."

  • Joani P. Oct 18, 2010

    About time!!

  • TiminNCisBack Oct 18, 2010

    Tough Economy impacting all.

  • josep4567 Oct 18, 2010

    Taxpayers foot the bill for ALL children, which is why having more than two is socially immoral regardless of how much people think "they can afford them"

  • GoGreen Oct 18, 2010

    fatchance - the article is pretty clear on what a minority is.

    The number is STILL over 5%. Too high. I am going to talk to my 12-year old daughter tonight.

  • Fredrick Bimmell Oct 18, 2010

    If a young girl does not envision a positive future then why not have a baby? At least she's got something to look forward to - her child growing up.
    October 18, 2010 3:10 p.m.
    Report abuse

    It takes a special kind of stupid to think that way

  • BJ2010 Oct 18, 2010

    fatchanceimwrong: The numbers are accounting for PER CAPITA in each divided group. It is per 1,000 in THAT group alone. If city A has 25% unemployed out of 50,000 and city B has 50% unemployed out of 15,000...City A still has more unemployed because it has a larger population or pool. It has more "1000's" in the pot. Thus, even doubling the rate of the minority group would not even come close to the end numbers of the majority unless that minority group's population was exactly half of the majority.

    Sidenote: The population of black and hispanic females in that age group is not half the population of whites females.

  • carrboroyouth Oct 18, 2010

    It sure doesn't seem like a record low amongst my peers... seems that everyone is poppin' out a child these days.

  • BigUNCFan Oct 18, 2010

    "If a young girl does not envision a positive future then why not have a baby? At least she's got something to look forward to - her child growing up."

    and the taxpayer footing the bill.