2012 W.Va. KIDS COUNT Data Book Focuses on Recent Rise in Teen Birth Rates; Why It Matters; and Proven Ways to Reverse the Trend

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

For decades, teen births had been decreasing in West Virginia and the nation. But, in 2006, West Virginia's rates began to worsen, and the disparity between the state and national rates became much greater. The 2012 West Virginia KIDS COUNT Data Book focuses on the recent upward trend in the state's teen birth rate and outlines a set of solutions proven to reduce teen pregnancy, including full implementation of the state's comprehensive sex education curriculum.

In 2010, West Virginia's teen birth rate was 45 per thousand teen girls, while the national rate was significantly lower at 34 per thousand. With a rank of 40, West Virginia is among the 10 worst states in the nation for teen births. KIDS COUNT's report notes that the state's teen birth rate increased between 2005 and 2009, and the difference between the state and the national rates has grown steadily wider. However, in 2010, the teen birth rates in both West Virginia and the nation showed a slight decrease.

 "One in 22 teen girls in West Virginia will have a baby," said Margie Hale, Executive Director of KIDS COUNT. "This is alarming, because we know when teens get pregnant they are much more likely to drop out of school, live in poverty and have babies that are less healthy. It's up to all of us to work together to reverse the recent trend. One of the best ways we can do that is by fully implementing the state's comprehensive sex education curriculum, which uses evidence-based methods for reducing teen pregnancy. "

KIDS COUNT's 2012 Data Book presents the teen pregnancy picture in West Virginia in the form of an "info-graphic" and uses a county-by-county bar graph and color-coded state map to demonstrate how the increase in teen births is particularly acute in eight southern and central West Virginia counties. McDowell County's rate is by far the highest at 95.76 per thousand teens. That rate is nearly seven times higher than Monongalia County, which boasts the state's lowest teen birth rate, and more than twice the state average of 45 per thousand in 2010. KIDS COUNT's West Virginia teen pregnancy info-graphic is available as a pull-out poster in the 2012 Data Book and a downloadable PDF at www.wvkidscount.org.  The bottom eight counties (in descending order) and their teen pregnancy rates are:

State Rank

County

Rate Per 1,000

48

Logan

62.83

49

Mercer

65.69

50

Calhoun

66.56

51

Fayette

68.32

52

Boone

70.48

53

Clay

71.20

54

Mingo

79.45

55

McDowell

95.76

In addition to highlighting teen pregnancy, the 2012 Data Book continues to monitor the well-being of West Virginia's children using 12 key indicators. For 2012, the county with the best overall child well-being is Pleasants, while the worst is McDowell.

 Below is the 2012 statewide profile for each of the twelve KIDS COUNT indicators of child well-being:

Indicators

2005 Rate/Percent

2011 Rate/Percent

2010 U.S. Rate/Percent

Better/

Worse

Percent low birth-weight babies

9.2%

9.3%

8.2%

Worse

Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births)

7.9

7.5

6.7

Better

Child death rate (age 1-14 per 100,000 children)

24.6

21.9

18.9

Better

Percent of four year olds enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten

39.8%

65.4%

28%

Better

Percent children approved for free and reduced price school meals (K-12)

52.7%

52.8%

48.2%

Worse

Child abuse/neglect rate (per 1,000 children)

22.6

16.4

9.2

Better

Teen birth rate (ages 15-19 per 1,000 females)

43.4

46.3

37.5

Worse

Percent births to unmarried teens (ages 10-19)

9.2%

10.6%

8.7%

Worse

Percent high school dropouts

16.8%

13.6%

NA*

Better

Teen injury death rate (ages 15-19 per 100,000 teens)

70.1

53.5

45.0

Better

Percent children in poverty (2005 is the base year)

25.5%

25.7%

21.6%

Worse

Percent births to mothers with less than a 12th grade education

18.4%

18.5%

22.1%

Worse

* NA = Not Available

 The 2012 Data Book features one new child well-being indicator: percent four year olds enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten. Pre-K enrollment is a substitute for the Head Start indicator KIDS COUNT previously used. The Data Book can be downloaded free at www.wvkidscount.org. In addition to the statewide profile of child well-being, the publication also includes county-by-county profiles and rankings along with key facts related to early child development in West Virginia.  County-specific data and links to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's interactive "Data Center" are also available on the KIDS COUNT website at www.wvkidscount.org. Hard copies of the Data Book and the teen pregnancy info-graphic are available for $5 from West Virginia KIDS COUNT, 1206 Virginia Street, East, Suite 104, Charleston, WV 25301 or by calling (304) 345-2101 or (888) 543-7268.


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Additional Media Contacts for Teen Pregnancy Questions:

Deena Ellison, Director

Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiative

304-356-4426

Deena.S.Ellison@wv.gov

 

Margaret Chapman Pomponio, Executive Director

WV Free & WV FREE Action Fund

304-342-9188

margaret@wvfree.org

 

Mary Weikle, Coordinator

Health and Physical Education, AIDS/HIV/Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Office of Healthy Schools, WV Department of Education

304-558-8830

mweikle@access.k12.wv.us

 

About West Virginia KIDS COUNT...

West Virginia KIDS COUNT's vision is to make West Virginia a great place to be a kid. Founded in 1990, KIDS COUNT provides the most trusted information about the well-being of children and builds alliances to advocate for what kids need. The non-profit organization's signature program is the KIDS COUNT Data Book, an annual, county-by-county report of child well-being in West Virginia. KIDS COUNT is currently fighting to improve the quality of childcare by advocating for the funding necessary to implement a quality rating and improvement system for childcare programs. And, the organization is working to improve children's oral health by advocating for policies that promote good dental care for West Virginia's youngest children. To learn more about the organization's mission, history and programs, go to www.wvkidscount.org