Online Program

Teen childbearing and related factors in rural america, 1990-2010

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Alison Ng, BA, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Washington, DC
Although the teen birth rate has declined by an impressive 45% since 1991, declines have not been equally encouraging for all populations, leading research and prevention efforts to focus increasingly on reducing disparities for key subgroups. Yet little to no research has been done over the past two decades on teen childbearing in rural areas nationwide. As a first step toward filling this gap, this presentation summarizes our descriptive analysis comparing teen childbearing and related factors in rural areas with other areas of the country.

Restricted-use birth data for every county in the United States were used to measure teen births in 1990, 2000, and 2010, based upon urbanization level. We compared the distribution and rates of teen childbearing across the rural/urban continuum, while controlling for demographic characteristics including age and race/ethnicity. Nationally representative surveys were used to measure related factors, including sexual activity and contraceptive use.

In 2010, the teen birth rate in rural counties was higher than the equivalent rate among all other counties—higher even than the rate in the most urban counties. This difference holds true across rural/ethnic subgroups. Furthermore, these disparities are widening—since 1990, the teen birth rate has declined at a slower rate than other counties across the rural/urban continuum.

Not only are rates of teen childbearing higher in rural areas, but this disparity has grown over time. Rural areas are in need of additional attention in teen pregnancy prevention efforts, particularly evidence-based programs that target factors related to teen childbearing in rural areas.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Compare teen childbearing in rural counties with other areas of the country Identify potential factors that impact the variation of the rates of teen childbearing based on urbanization level Discuss promising approaches to reduce teen pregnancy among teens living in rural counties

Keyword(s): Teen Pregnancy, Rural Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Alison Ng is the Research Coordinator at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, where she co-authored Freeze Frame 2012, and a series of briefs in the Why it Matters series on the consequences of teen pregnancy. She has a B.A. from Tufts University, and her work on this project has been guided and supervised by the Senior Director of Research at the National Campaign, Kelleen Kaye.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.