DHR reports teen pregnancy rates down in Georgia

May 1, 2006

ATLANTA (GA) –Pregnancy rates among Georgia females 15 to 17-years-old are down 42 percent over an eleven-year period according to ongoing monitoring of Georgia’s teen pregnancy rates by the Department of Human Resources (DHR). From 1994-2004, the teen pregnancy rate among non-Hispanic African-Americans declined 51 percent. The teen pregnancy rate for non-Hispanic whites went down 48 percent. While the number of pregnancies among Hispanic teens has increased from 233 in 1994 to 964 in 2004, exact pregnancy rates are unknown due to lack of data on the growth of this population.

“Preventing teenage pregnancy is critical to helping Georgians live safe, healthy, and self-reliant lives,” said Dr. Stuart Brown, director of the Division of Public Health. “Teen pregnancy and out-of-wedlock parenting are linked to dropping out of school, poverty, welfare dependency, and other risks, so this decrease is good news. It shows that the prevention programs and education conducted through the Division of Public Health and our partners are working.”

Although progress is being made in reducing teenage pregnancy rates in Georgia, teen pregnancy is still a major issue of concern in Georgia. More than 25% of all pregnancies among teens ages 15 to19 are repeat pregnancies. Today, more teen mothers are unmarried than in past generations. In 2004, 80 percent of teens that gave birth were not married, compared to 75 percent in 1994 and 51 percent during the ‘80s. Single-parent families, especially young families, are at a greater risk of emotional and financial instability.

Births to 10 to14-year-olds make up two percent of all teen births and have been declining. Despite this good news, pregnancy in this age group is a serious public health concern. In 2004, 538 girls ages 10 to14 became pregnant and 315 gave birth.

“We know that high-risk behaviors among young people have been reduced through programs offered to Georgia youth which promote abstinence-based education plus healthy lifestyles and choices, and build on the assets or strengths of individual youth, their families, and communities,” added Brown. “Using this combined approach, both during Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month this May and continuing throughout the year, we will continue to focus our efforts in partnership with state and local agencies and community partners to support this positive trend of reducing the numbers of teen pregnancies. These programs also provide youth with access to screening for health problems and links to other community resources.”

More information about Births to Teenagers in Georgia is available at http://dhr.georgia.gov (click About Us, Fact sheet index). For more information about Georgia’s Adolescent Health and Youth Development programs, call 404-657-8377 or visit http://health.state.ga.us/programs/adolescent/. To access teen pregnancy rates by health district or county for years 1994 through 2004, visit the OASIS (Online Analytical Statistical Information System) web query tool at http://oasis.state.ga.us/oasis/qryMCH.aspx .

For information, contact:
Lee Tanenbaum 404-657- 6637

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