DefinitionTeen Birth Rate is the number of births to females in the age group per 1,000 of the age group female population.
NumeratorThe number of births to females in the age group per year.
DenominatorThe population of females in the age group per year.
Data Interpretation IssuesThe teen birth rate includes live births to teen-aged mothers. It does not include all pregnancies, only those that resulted in a live birth.
Why Is This Important?Poverty is one of the most important contributing factors to teenage pregnancy. In 2016, New Mexico had the 3rd highest child poverty rate among all states (25.9% of children age 0-17 in poverty) (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017).
"Nearly all teen pregnancies are unplanned - that is, teens themselves say they did not intend to get pregnant or cause a pregnancy. More and more, teens are able to match their intentions with their actions. As a result of many factors, including increased access to and awareness of sexual health information and birth control, the United States has seen a 67 percent decline in the teen birth rate since 1991, including profound declines in all 50 states and among all racial/ethnic groups.
Each year, about 210,000 teens still give birth, which is about 20 births for every 1,000 girls. To put another way, nearly two out of every 100 teen girls will have a child each year. Rates are higher among young people living in poverty, living in foster care, or facing persistent racism and discrimination.
Add in the positive impact that preventing teen pregnancy can have on so many other issues: reducing poverty and improving young people's lifelong income, improving health and child welfare, supporting responsible fatherhood, and reducing other risky behaviors, and preventing teen pregnancy becomes not only a reproductive health issue but a national priority. What's more, daughters born to women in their 20s are three times less likely to become teen moms themselves compared with daughters of teen moms - so it is a change that ripples across generations" (Power to Decide, 2018, formerly the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, https://powertodecide.org/what-we-do/information/why-it-matters).
Healthy People Objective: FP-8, Reduce pregnancy rates among adolescent femalesU.S. Target: Not applicable, see subobjectives in this category
Other ObjectivesNew Mexico Community Health Status Indicator (CHSI), New Mexico Early Learning Indicator
How Are We Doing?From 2011 to 2016, the teen birth rate in New Mexico for 15- to 19-year-olds has declined by 38.4%, to a rate of 29.8 per 1,000 in 2016. That rate of decline is higher than the national decline of 35.1% during the same time period (National Centers for Health Statistics, 2017). NM over the past few years has had one of the highest teen birth rates in the nation but is now ranked seventh highest in 2016 (NCHS, 2018).
The female population ages 15-19 in New Mexico is 55.1% Hispanic, and among the teens giving birth, 81% were Hispanic (NM IBIS, 2017).
Birth rates to NM teens 15-19 years by race/ethnicity, 2006-2016:
Birth rates for American Indian teens decreased by 51.1%
Birth rates for Hispanic teens decreased by 60%
Birth rates for African American teens decreased by 49.7%
Birth rates for White teens decreased by 42.6%
Birth rates for all teens decreased by 54.1%
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?Between 2011 and 2016, the teen birth rate declined by 35.1% nationwide, in all 50 states and among all racial/ethnic groups. However, progress has been uneven and while New Mexico reached an historic low for teen births, rates are still high. In 2016, Arkansas had the highest rate for 15-19 year olds (34.6/1,000), followed by Oklahoma (33.4/1,000), Mississippi (32.6/1,000), Texas (31/1,000), Kentucky (30.9/1,000), Louisiana (30.6/1,000), and then New Mexico (29.8/1,000). (NCHS, 2018)
What Is Being Done?Confidential reproductive health services are provided at low- or no-cost at county public health offices, statewide, and some community health centers and school-based health centers. NM DOH FPP also funds community education programs focusing on service learning and positive youth development, adult/teen communication, and comprehensive sex education.
Service learning and positive youth development programs promote positive outcomes for teens by providing meaningful service to develop and practice life skills. Through community engagement and positive relationships, teens develop self-efficacy and adopt healthy behaviors enabling them to reach their full developmental potential.
Wyman's Teen Outreach Program (TOP) is an evidence-based, nine-month, youth development program designed for youth ages 11-19. The curriculum allows for adaptable lessons based on maturity, level of understanding of a topic, and relevant events and issues affecting teens. TOP is based on three main components: Educational Peer Group Meetings, Positive Adult Guidance and Support, and Community Service Learning. These main components assist teens in achieving the three main goals of TOP: Life Skills, Healthy Behaviors, and a Sense of Purpose. In addition to these attributes, TOP has also seen evidence based behavioral outcomes in the form of a lower rates of school suspensions, course failures, and teen pregnancies.
Project AIM (Adult Identity Mentoring) is an evidence based program designed specifically for youth ages 11-14. This six-week program promotes motivation for students to reduce risky behavior. Project AIM is based on the Theory of Possible Selves and Prevention vs. Promotion Motivation. Youth are encouraged to think about their "Future Selves" and how their choices can directly impact their future images, both positively and/or negatively.
Youth in both TOP and Project AIM are encouraged to visit either a Public Health Office or School Based Health Center to learn about the services available for teens. Teens also have the opportunity to ask questions at the clinics, which fosters communication between the teens and staff.
Other State Agencies that work with teen pregnancy prevention include:
Office of School and Adolescent Health provides primary care and behavioral health care at School-Based Health Centers. Family planning services are provided where approved by the school district.
Evidence-based PracticesConfidential clinical family planning services including shared-decision making counseling, birth control and laboratory tests.
Increased access to confidential, low- or no-cost family planning services through county public health offices, community clinics, and school-based health centers.
Increased access to most- and moderately-effective contraceptive methods for teens, such as the hormonal implant, the IUD (intrauterine device), pill, injectable, and ring.
Service-learning and positive youth development programs, adult-teen communication programs.
Telemedicine services to increase access to birth control for high-risk populations in areas with clinician shortages.
Health Program InformationNew Mexico Department of Health Family Planning Program