Teenage abortion and pregnancy statistics by state, 1996

Author(s): Henshaw SK, Feivelson DJ


Context:State-level teenage pregnancy rates, birthrates and abortion rates are needed for state-specific programs and policies. Accurate and complete state-level data were last published in 1992.

Methods:Teenage abortion rates according to state of residence, race and ethnicity were calculated from the results of The Alan Guttmacher Institute's survey of abortion providers and from information compiled by state health statistics agencies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Natality data were obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics, and population denominators from the Census Bureau.

Results:In 1996, some 97 pregnancies, 54 births and 29 abortions occurred per 1,000 U.S. women aged 15-19. At the national level and in virtually all states, these rates have fallen since 1992, yet they remain higher than rates in most other developed countries. The decline in the teenage abortion rate (from 36 per 1,000 in 1992) has been proportionately greater than the drop in the birthrate (from 61 per 1,000), indicating that an increasing proportion of pregnant teenagers are continuing their pregnancies. Pregnancy rates, birthrates and abortion rates vary enormously among the states for reasons that are largely unexplained. Pregnancy rates and birthrates tend to be highest in the South and Southwest, while abortion rates are highest in the most urban states.

Conclusions:Teenage pregnancy is declining in all parts of the country. Although rates have fallen, further progress is possible, as is indicated by the low rates in certain states and in other developed countries. More research is needed to identify the factors influencing the reproductive behavior of adolescents.

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