Teen births highest in South and Southwest

Map: Via USA Today

Map: Via USA Today

(USA TODAY) A new study found more teens are having babies in the South and Southwest.

The numbers have dropped in the Northeast, according to new state-by-state breakdowns of federal data.

The report came from the National Center for Health Statistics found births per 1,000 teenagers (ages 15–19) range from a low of 13.8 in New Hampshire to a high of 47.5 in New Mexico.

Asian or Pacific Islanders had the lowest 2012 rate at 9.7, compared with Hispanic teens who had the highest rate at 46.3.

Rates for the other groups are 20.5 for white, 34.9 for American Indian or Alaska Native and 43.9 for black teens.

The record high for birth rates was in 1957 with 96.3 births per 1,000 teens compared with 2013 preliminary data showing 26.6 births per 1,000 teens.

Teen moms today are typically not married, while their counterparts of the 1950s were largely married women according to a review by USA Today.

In 2013, 89% of births were to unmarried teens, up from 48% in 1980, 15% in 1960 and 14% in 1940.

As we talked about in our Memphis On A Mission special, teen pregnancy is a stumbling block in education and escaping poverty.

A program called Teen+ provides childcare so Shelby County student mothers can finish.

The young mothers also learn parenting skills, and are paired with mentors who help them stabilize and resolve challenges along the way.

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