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Important Facts for Teen Birth Rate for State and National Comparisons


Teen Birth Rate is the number of births to females in the age group per 1,000 of the age group female population.


The number of births to females in the age group per year.


The population of females in the age group per year.

Data Interpretation Issues

The teen birth rate includes live births to teen-aged mothers. It does not include all pregnancies, only those that resulted in a live birth. The rates presented here were obtained from the National Center for Health Statistics and use NCHS estimates of the number resident births and girls in the population. These rates should be used if a comparison to another state or the U.S. is desired.

Why Is This Important?

Poverty is one of the most important contributing factors to teenage pregnancy. In 2015, New Mexico ranked highest among all states in percentage of children living in poverty (30% of children age 0-17 in poverty) (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2016). Some reasons for higher teen parenthood in mixed urban/rural areas include lack of health insurance, increased poverty, transportation barriers, and less access to services. In NM teen birth rates are highest for American Indians and Hispanics. "Nearly all teen pregnancies are unplanned. That is, teens say they did not want to get pregnant or cause a pregnancy. That alone is reason enough to care about preventing teen pregnancy. But, it is also the case that teen pregnancy is closely linked to a host of other critical social issues?poverty and income, overall child well-being, out-of-wedlock births, responsible fatherhood, health issues, education, child welfare, and other risky behavior. Consequently, teen pregnancy should be viewed not only as a reproductive health issue, but as one that works to improve all of these measures." (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy)

Healthy People Objective: FP-8, Reduce pregnancy rates among adolescent females

U.S. Target: Not applicable, see subobjectives in this category

Other Objectives

New Mexico Community Health Status Indicator (CHSI)

How Are We Doing?

The rate of births to 15-19 year old girls in New Mexico has decreased steadily from 65.5/1,000 girls in 2000 to in 34.6/1,000 girls in 2015, a decrease of 47%.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Between 1991 and 2015, the teen birth rate declined by 64% 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 2015, Arkansas had the highest rate for 15-19 year olds (38/1,000), followed by Oklahoma and Mississippi (34.8/1,000). New Mexico and Texas both had a rate of 34.6/1,000 followed by Louisiana at 34.1/1,000. (NCHS)

What Is Being Done?

Confidential reproductive health services are provided at low or no cost at 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. Adult/teen communication programming, like From Playground to Prom, gives adults information and skills to communicate effectively with young people about reducing risky sexual behavior. Parents influence teen decisions about sex more than their friends, the media, or their siblings. Most teens say that it would be much easier for them to postpone sexual activity if they had open, honest conversations with their parents or trusted adults. NM DOH FPP launched the BrdzNBz text messaging service in 2013. BrdsNBz New Mexico offers teens and free, confidential, and accurate answers to sexual health questions via text message in either English or Spanish. A teen texts a question and a trained health educator responds within 24 hours, with an average time of 6 to 8 hours. Teens text NMTeen to 66746 to opt in to the service. 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 Practices

Confidential 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 Information

New Mexico Department of Health Family Planning Program
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Thu, 29 July 2021 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Fri, 26 Jan 2018 14:46:41 MST