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Health Indicator Report of Teen Birth Rate

Factors in New Mexico's high teen pregnancy rates are poverty, education, rural vs. urban population and access to services. Poverty is one of the most important contributing factors to teenage pregnancy. In 2013, New Mexico ranked 2nd among all states and the District of Columbia in percentage of children living in poverty (30.1% of children age 0-17 in poverty). Teens who have dropped out of school are more likely to become pregnant and have a child than their peers who stay in school. The NM high school dropout rate in 2012 was 29.6%, compared to 24.5% nationally. Teen parenthood is most common in rural areas. There is a lack of access to family planning services with all but one of NM counties classified as a health professional shortage area. [ National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy] [ Sex in the (Non) City: Teen Childbearing in Rural America] The Annie E. Casey Foundation's [ KIDS COUNT Data Center]

Data Sources

  • Birth Certificate Data, Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics (BVRHS), New Mexico Department of Health.
  • New Mexico Population Estimates: Geospatial and Population Studies Program, University of New Mexico.
  • U.S. Data: National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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.


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.

Healthy People Objective: Reduce the pregnancy rate among adolescent females aged 15 to 17 years

U.S. Target: 36.2 pregnancies per 1,000

Other Objectives

New Mexico Community Health Status Indicator (CHSI)

How Are We Doing?

The rate of births to 15-17 year old girls in New Mexico has decreased steadily from 39.8/1,000 girls in 2000 to in 17.2/1,000 girls in 2014, a decrease of 57%. The female population ages 15-19 in New Mexico is 51% Hispanic (UNM GPS/BBER, 2014), and among the teens giving birth, more than 70% were Hispanic (NM IBIS, 2014). Guttmacher Institute: U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2010: National and State Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity Birth rates to NM teens 15-17 years by race/ethnicity, 2000-2014: Birth rates for American Indian teens decreased by 52% Birth rates for Hispanic teens decreased by 56% Birth rates for African American teens decreased by 68% Birth rates for White teens decreased by 71%

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Nationally, teen birth rates are at their lowest levels since the National Center for Health Statistics began tracking teenage childbearing in the 1940s. While still high, New Mexico also reached an historic low for teen births: with the declining rates, there is still work to be done.

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 programs engage youth in constructive activities to build on their strengths and interests, and increase their motivation to delay childbearing by providing positive alternatives and leadership opportunities. Teen Outreach Program (TOP) is an evidenced-based service learning and youth development program for teen pregnancy prevention, and reducing school failure and suspension for teens in grades 6-12. TOP combines life skills and adolescent reproductive health education with youth involvement in community service. TOP is designed to prevent risky behavior (teen violence, school failure, and teen pregnancy) by helping teens develop a positive self-image, effective life management skills and achievable goals. TOP offers a club setting for youth development. This offers teen participants social support that will influence their health behavior change. Comprehensive sex education is provided through the Cudate! program. Cudate! is a Hispanic culturally-based HIV sexual risk reduction intervention. It consists of six 60-minute modules delivered to small groups (6-10) of males and females. The target population is English and Spanish-speaking Hispanic youth 13-18 years of age. Cudate emphasizes increasing skills and self-efficacy in communication and negotiation of abstinence or condom use. The program uses activities that allow youth to: (1) acquire correct and reliable information about risk and disease; (2) develop attitudes that support safe decision-making; (3) build skills to be able to abstain from sex and use condoms correctly; (4) reinforce confidence in their ability to practice safer sex. Adult-teen communication is provided with the Races y Alas program. Races y Alas is a two-hour workshop for parents of adolescents. It is designed to increase parents' confidence in talking with their children about sex and sexuality and to help parents give their children a solid foundation of knowledge to make healthy decisions regarding sexual health and relationships. The Races y Alas workshop has two major components: parents will learn about teachable moments, which are the best times to talk to children about these challenging topics and parents will practice having conversations with their children about sex by participating in role plays with other parents. The Department of Health launched the BrdzNBz text messaging service in 2013. BrdsNBz New Mexico offers teens and parents free, confidential, and accurate answers to sexual health questions via text message in either English or Spanish. A teen or parent texts a question and a trained educator responds within 24 hours with an average time of 6 to 8 hours. Teens text NMTeen to 66746 and parents text NMParent to 66746. Through the text line parents receive recommendations on ways they can increase their skills in talking to their teen about sexual health. 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. Public Education Department supports the Graduation, Reality and Dual-Role Skills (GRADS) Program, a vocational, in-school drop out recovery and intervention program for pregnant and parenting adolescent families; pregnancy prevention programs for traditional students; Career Readiness; Youth Development; and on-site childcare.

Evidence-based Practices

Access to confidential, low- or no-cost family planning services through county public health offices, community clinics, and school-based health centers. Increased availability of highly- and moderately-effective primary contraceptive methods for teens such as the pill, injectable, patch, ring, IUD, and hormonal implant. Service-learning and positive youth development programs, adult-teen communication programs. Comprehensive sex education programs.

Available Services

Access to confidential, low- or no-cost family planning services through county public health offices, community clinics, and school-based health centers. Increased availability of highly- and moderately-effective primary contraceptive methods for teens.

Health Program Information

New Mexico Department of Health Family Planning Program []
Page Content Updated On 01/29/2016, Published on 01/29/2016
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, 11 February 2016 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Fri, 29 Jan 2016 11:35:43 MST