The number of births to teenage mothers in Connecticut has dropped by roughly half over eight years — a faster rate than in most other states, according to a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control report.
That finding is in line with data Trend CT analyzed, and continues a trend that has held for more than two decades.
In 2008, approximately 2,789 children were born to mothers aged 15 to 19 in Connecticut. That’s a rate of about 22.6 births per 1,000 Connecticut girls and women in that age group. By 2014 that number had declined to 1,420, a rate of 11.5 per 1,000. That’s a drop of 49 percent.
Teenage birth rates have been steadily declining in Connecticut even longer than that — since the mid-1990s, according to the state Department of Public Health.
Data we analyzed show declines in teen birth rates in every county from 2008 to 2014:
Teen birth rates vary sharply along racial and ethnic lines in Connecticut, as they do throughout the nation.
In 2013 in Connecticut, Hispanic teens aged 15-19 had a birth rate of 37.3 per 1,000 — seven times higher than the rate for whites, which was 5.3. The birth rate for black teens was 21.5, four times that of whites.
Poverty is both a cause and effect of teenage pregnancy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. So the racial disparity in teen birth rates can reinforce overall racial inequalities.
Race and ethnicity data wasn’t complete for Connecticut 2014; much of it was deemed statistically unreliable by the CDC. Only comparable data was available for Hispanic teens, which showed a continued decline, down to a rate of 31.4 from 37.3 the previous year.
The latest from the CDC
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Tuesday cited the new figures in the November CDC report in criticizing President-Elect Donald Trump’s pick of U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., an opponent of Planned Parenthood, as secretary of health and human services.
The CDC report is broken into rural an urban counties, which in Connecticut look quite different from much of the country.
Nationwide, teen birth rates in rural counties are higher than in urban counties, but in Connecticut the opposite is true. Both types of counties have seen major declines.
Urban counties, which include most of the state, experienced a 56 percent drop in teenage births — from 23.5 per 1,000 to 10.4 — over the studied time period.
In rural counties, teen births were down 73 percent from 18.3 per 1,000 to five per 1,000, the CDC found. However, that number was skewed by how counties are classified as urban and rural by the CDC. Windham and Litchfield were considered the two rural counties in Connecticut according to 2006 classification, but in 2013 Windham was re-classified as urban. Windham has a higher rate of teen births, so moving it out of the rural category would make the rural drop seem larger.
The CDC report did not adjust for re-classification of counties from urban to rural, an author of the CDC paper, Brady Hamilton, told Trend CT. Hamilton performed some additional calculations and determined the combined Windham-Litchfield drop in teenage birth rates from 2007 to 2015 was 57 percent — still quite significant.
Colorado an Connecticut were the only states that saw declines greater than 50 percent in both rural and urban counties, according to the report.