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New Research Shows Teenage Birth Rate is Higher in Rural America

Submitted by on February 28, 2013 – 12:59 pmNo Comment

Research Shows Teenage Birth Rate is Higher in Rural America

First-Ever Data Comparing Rural, Suburban, and Urban Teen Birth Rates

The teenage birth rate in rural counties in the United States is nearly one-third higher compared to the rest of the country, according to new research from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.  This first of its kind analysis shows that the teenage birth rate in 2010 in rural counties surpasses that in suburban counties and major urban centers.

Other findings from the new research include:

  • The teenage birth rate is higher in rural counties than in other areas of the country (43 per 1,000 girls age 15-19 vs. 33) regardless of age or race/ethnicity.
  • Among non-Hispanic white teens, for example, the rural teenage birth rate (36 per 1,000 girls 15-19) is more than twice as high as that for major urban centers (16 per 1,000 girls 15-19).
  • Between 1990 and 2010, the birth rate among teens in rural counties declined by 32%, far slower than the decline in major urban centers (49%) and in suburban counties (40%).
  • Rural counties account for one in five teen births in the United States even though they make up only 16% of the overall teen population.
  • The difference in teenage birth rates between rural counties and other counties was particularly pronounced among teens age 18-19 (75 vs.58 per 1,000 girls 15-19).

“This data provides an answer to a straight-forward but previously unanswered question:  is rural teen childbearing higher or lower than in other places?” said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign.  “Clearly the need for efforts to help rural teens avoid too-early pregnancy and parenthood is great.”

The new research is based on National Campaign tabulations using birth data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.  Visit for more information about the new research, including the definition of rural, suburban, and urban areas.

The National Campaign is a private, non-profit organization that seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families by preventing teen and unplanned pregnancy.  Please visit to find out more.


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