Rural Adolescent Pregnancy: A View from the South

Trude Bennett Julia DeClerque Skatrud Priscilla Guild Frank Loda Lorraine V. Klerman

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Abstract / Summary

An analysis of 1990 census and vital statistics data for eight Southeastern states revealed that the teenage birthrate generally was higher in rural than in metropolitan areas; the exception was among black women aged 15-17. The highest birthrate was 162 births per 1,000 among rural black women aged 18-19. Abortion rates were much lower for rural teenagers than for urban teenagers, regardless of race. For 15-17-year-olds, white women had an abortion rate of 12 abortions per 1,000 in rural counties and 18 per 1,000 in metropolitan counties; black women had rates of 13 per 1,000 and 30 per 1,000 in rural and metropolitan areas, respectively. Similarly, the abortion ratio was lower in rural than in urban areas; for example, 18% of rural white women aged 18-19 who became pregnant had an abortion, compared with 35% of their metropolitan counterparts. Black 15-17-year-olds in metropolitan areas had a higher pregnancy rate (106 per 1,000) than those in rural counties (87 per 1,000). The pregnancy rate of white women aged 15-17 was similar in rural and metropolitan areas (about 46 per 1,000). Among rural women aged 18-19, 32% of births to whites and 45% of those to blacks resulted from a second or higher order pregnancy.

(Family Planning Perspectives, 29:256-260 & 267, 1997)

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