NH DHHS - New Hampshire Releases Teen Birth Data

Concord, NH - New Hampshire is proud to once again have the lowest teen

birth rate in the country. According to data from the National Center for

Health Statistics, New Hampshire’s teen birth rate for 2010 was 15.6 per

1,000 births (among 15- to 19-year-olds). About three-quarters of those

teen births occur among 18- to 19-year-olds.

Throughout the nation, teen birth rates are at a historic low of 34.3

births per 1,000 women aged 15–19. In fact, fewer babies were born to

teenagers in 2010 in the United States than in any year since 1946. Teen

births peaked in 1991, but have since declined steadily.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that there

has been an increase in teen pregnancy prevention messages aimed at

adolescents, and teens have made choices in the past 20 years to be less

sexually active and use more contraception when they do have sex. In 2011,

47.5% of New Hampshire high school seniors reported ever having sex on the

Youth Risk Behavior Survey, similar to, although slightly higher than, the

2009 national rate of 46%. But in New Hampshire, among those teens who do

have sex, a greater proportion of them use contraception to prevent

pregnancy than do teens in the rest of the country.

Although the overall New Hampshire teen birth rate is low, just looking at

the State average does not tell the whole story. There are New Hampshire

cities and counties where teen birth rates are much higher. Nine percent of

births in Manchester were to teen mothers in 2007, which equals a teen

birth rate of 42.3 per 1,000, which is higher than the national rate.

Sullivan County is among the counties with a higher than the State rate of

teen births at 30.6 per 1,000 births.

“Teens have lots of questions about sex,” said Dr. José Montero, Director

of Public Health at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human

Services (DHHS), “and we know that the source they’d most like to go to for

answers is their parents. Age-appropriate conversations about healthy

relationships should begin early in a child's life and continue through

adolescence. New Hampshire should be proud of its families and teens for

the choices they have made.”

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Division of

Public Health Services (DPHS) will soon work with community-based agencies

in Manchester and Sullivan County to support the Personal Responsibility

Education Program (PREP). PREP will replicate evidence-based effective

programs that have been shown to help reduce sexual activity, increase

contraceptive use in already sexually active youth, and ultimately reduce

teen pregnancy. In addition, PREP works with teens to build important life

skills such as financial literacy, education and employment preparation

skills, and healthy parent/child communication skills. PREP compliments

other teen pregnancy-prevention initiatives already supported by DPHS and

communities, such as abstinence education and access to comprehensive

reproductive health care.