DURHAM, N.C. (OCTOBER 14, 2013) – Gaston County’s teen pregnancy rate fell 12.5% last year to a historic low, according to new data provided by the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics and released by the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC).
The 2012 teen pregnancy rate was 42.7 per 1,000 15-19 year old girls. In other words, only 4% of 15-19 year old girls in the county experienced a pregnancy last year.
More notably, however, is the elimination of the long-standing disparity between White and African American pregnancies. The African American teen pregnancy rate was lower than the White teen pregnancy rate for the first time in history.
Other highlights from the newly released data include:
- If the current trend continues, Gaston County will drop lower than the statewide teen pregnancy rate in under two years.
- Teen pregnancy rates improved for nearly everyone. Pregnancies to white and African American teens dropped 8.9% and 34.4%, respectively. Pregnancies to Hispanic teens ticked up slightly after being cut in half since 2008.
- Only 77 girls under the age of 18 got pregnant in 2012, while 72% of teen pregnancies happened to an older teen ages 18 or 19.
The Gaston Youth Connected (GYC) initiative sees the new data as a sign of progress in the community. Since the initiative’s launch in 2010, project partners have helped more than 1,300 youth – predominantly African American youth – access evidence-based programs to help them avoid an unplanned pregnancy. In addition, GYC partnered with the Gaston County Health Department in 2012 to open the Teen Wellness Center, a model for providing adolescent health care.
Beyond highlighting the project’s successes, the data gives community leaders direction for future needs. Older teens and white teens experience a disproportionately high number of teen pregnancies.
Nationwide, researchers have attributed teen pregnancy declines to increased use of birth control, the availability of more effective birth control methods like IUDs and the Implant, and a slight increase in the average age when teens first engage in sexual intercourse.
Snapshot of North Carolina Data: http://www.appcnc.org/data/map/northcarolina
Data for Each North Carolina County: http://www.appcnc.org/data/map
NC State Center for Health Statistics: http://www.schs.state.nc.us/data/vital.cfm