NC Teen Birth Rate Remains Above National Average

12:40 AM, May 24, 2013   |    comments
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The U.S. teen birth rate fell 25% over five years to a record low of 31 births per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

North Carolina's teen birth rate is above the national average at 35 per 1,000 teens. However, that's a 27% drop from 2007.

According to the report, nationally, white teens have the lowest birth rate at 22 births per 1,000 teens. Black teens rate 47 per 1,000. The Hispanic rate is 49.

Read: Declines in State Teen Birth Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin

While North Carolina and other Southern states have showed significant drops in teen births since 2007, the rate is still higher than the national average.

Read: County-By-County Report

Montgomery County has the second highest teen pregnancy rate in the state. Randolph County is 32nd with Davidson at 52nd. Forsyth is 55th in North Carolina. Guilford falls at 76th.

Jen Kimbrough, PhD, executive director for the Guilford Coalition on Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention talked with WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford about reasons NC is higher than other states.

Kimbrough explained that poverty is a factor. Those with lower incomes tend to have more teen pregnancies. North Carolina and most of the Southeast have higher than average teen pregnancies.

Another reason is culture. Kimbrough said that southerners tend to shy away from talking about health and sexual behavior. Some people might not feel comfortable discussing teenage sex.

WFMY News 2 also talked to Rick Brown, the director of Wise Guys, a local group that prevents teen pregnancy through male responsibility.

Brown attributes the significant decrease in North Carolina teen births to better education and collaboration between schools, community, and government. The Healthy Youth Act was passed in 2009, making progressive changes to sex education across the state.

WFMY News 2 also talked with a teenage mom. Shatoria Simmons is a 17-year-old junior at Dudley High School. Her daughter, Ariana, is 19 months old. Simmons has a mentor through the Teen Parent Mentor Program at the YWCA.

"Ya'll don't understand how hard it is to be a teen mom, it's hard. You got to depend on your parents to help you. Even if you got a job and stuff, still that don't make you nothing because you still got to depend on your parents to help you take care of the baby," said Simmons.

WFMY News 2, CDC

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