Characteristics of NC Teen Births
Special Report - July 13, 2012
Two new reports released this summer by the State Center for Health Statistics (SCHS) provide a statistical portrait of births to teen mothers in North Carolina, as well as some important advice for teenagers. The first report, “Recent Decline in Births in North Carolina, 2007-2010,” includes birth and fertility information on women in all age groups, including teenagers. It notes that since reaching a high in 2007, the number of births in the state declined steadily, dropping 6.5 percent between 2007 and 2010.
While birth rates declined among all age groups during this time period, except for women ages 40 and over, the largest decline occurred among 15 to 19 year olds, according to the report. The teen birth rate declined 21 percent in North Carolina between 2007 and 2010, from 48.9 to 38.3 per 1,000 women. While North Carolina’s teen birth rate, at 38.3, is still higher than the national teen birth rate of 34.3, the SCHS report explains that, “the 21 percent decrease in North Carolina was greater than the 17 percent decline nationally from 2007 to 2010.”
A second report released this summer by the SCHS focuses on teen birth data and the characteristics of teen births in North Carolina, using statewide data on live births and information gathered from the North Carolina Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (or PRAMS) survey of teen mothers. While the previously mentioned report included data on teens ages 15 to 19, this report, “North Carolina Teen Mothers’ Maternal Health: 2005-2009 N.C. Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS),” includes information on teenage mothers between the ages of 13 and 19.
Among the report’s key findings regarding the characteristics of teen births in North Carolina:
- 74,005 babies in North Carolina were born to teen mothers (age 19 and younger) between 2005 and 2009. This represents 11.6 percent of all resident live births.
- The majority of teen births, or 67.7 percent, were to 18 and 19 year-olds.
- Among teens in N.C. with live births, 41.3 percent were non-Hispanic white, 36.6 percent were non- Hispanic black, 3.6 percent were Non-Hispanic other races, and 18.5 percent were Hispanic/Latina.
- Babies born to teen mothers are at a higher risk of being born premature, having low birth weight, and suffering other serious health problems. In North Carolina, 15.3 percent of babies born to teen mothers arrived early, and 11.1 percent of babies born to teen mothers were low-birth weight.
- Compared to older mothers, teen mothers are more likely to report using Medicaid and WIC during their pregnancies. For example, in North Carolina between 2005 and 2009, about 40 percent of mothers age 20 and older were enrolled in Medicaid and WIC, compared to 80.4 percent of teen mothers ages 13 to 19.
- Teen mothers are more likely than older mothers to say their pregnancies were unintended. During 20052009, 69.0 percent of teenage mothers responding to the N.C. PRAMS survey reported that they did not want to become pregnant at the time of conception, compared to 40.7 percent of older mothers.
Finally, the SCHS report includes comments from some of the teens that participated in the N.C. PRAMS survey. One of the quotes included comes from a 13 year-old teen mother, who offered other teenage girls the following advice: “All the teens out there in this world wait to have sex. Because you could be like me and get pregnant at 13 when you least expect it. It is not easy to be 13 and have to pretty much raise a child alone. And if you get pregnant young, there is a high chance that you will be a single parent for a while.”
Characteristics of Teen Fathers - June 14, 2012
CDC Analyzes Teen Mom Contraceptive Use - January 26, 2012
NC Abortions and Teen Pregnancies Drop - December 14, 2011
Teen Sex Linked to Divorce - June 23, 2011
Teen Birth Rate Drops Lower - April 4, 2011
Abortions Down In NC, Steady Nationwide - January 18, 2011
NC Teen Pregnancy Rates Hit New Low - October 19, 2010
Teen Birth Rate Moves Downward - April 13, 2010
NC Teen Pregnancy Rates Hit 3-year Low - February 4, 2010
NC Abortion Profile Updated - November 3, 2009
Adolescent Sexual Health Trends Detailed - August 6, 2009
North Carolina Teen Birth Rate Increases - August 7, 2008
Copyright © 2012. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.