Arizona was among five states nationwide experiencing the biggest decline in teenage birth rates in urban counties between 2007 and 2015, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The report, Teen Birth Rates for Urban and Rural Areas in the United States, 2007-2015, released on Wednesday showed that birth rates for teenagers aged 15-19 “demonstrated an unprecedented decline in the United States since 2007. The largest decline in birth rates for teenagers occurred in large urban counties.”
Arizona, with a decline of 57 percent in urban counties, was among 17 states experiencing a drop of 50 percent or more. The birth rate in Arizona urban counties fell from 58.8 births per 1,000 in 2007 to 25.5 in 2015.
In rural Arizona counties, the teen birth rate fell 39.1 percent from 65.7 births per 1,000 in 2007 to 40 in 2015. Colorado and Connecticut had the largest decline in rural areas at 50 percent or more.
Nationally, from 2007 through 2015, teen birth rates fell 48 percent in large urban areas from 38.1 births per 1,000 females aged 15-19 to 20.9. During the same period, the teen birth rate in rural U.S. counties fell 37 percent to 30.9 births per 1,000 from 49.1, according to the report. Overall, teen birth rates were highest in rural counties with the rates higher than the national average.
Data for the report came from the National Vital Statistics System and from the NCHS Urban-Rural Classification Scheme.
“Access to science-based information and education about preventing pregnancy certainly had to play a key role in young people’s decision making and actions leading to this significant decline in birth rates among teenagers,” said Brenda “Bré” Thomas, CEO of the Arizona Family Health Partnership, a Title X agency. “It also underscores the critical importance of ensuring access to and availability of these types of resources in every community in Arizona.”
“In 2015, teen birth rates were highest in rural counties and lowest in large urban counties for non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black and Hispanic females,” according to the report which was authored by Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., Lauren M. Rossen, Ph.D. and Amy M. Branum, Ph.D.
In 2015, Title X-funded planning healthcare services in Arizona prevented an estimated 6,700 unintended pregnancies, saving the state nearly $56.7 million in healthcare expenses.
In April, AFHP launched www.SEXfyi.org, a one-stop website for teens, parents and young adults to find information about birth control methods and options – listed by effectiveness – as well as a search function to find the nearest Title X-funded health center in Arizona.