(WASHINGTON) -- As many as one in 17 babies born in the South are born to teenage mothers, according to new statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics released a state-by-state comparison of teenage birth rates Wednesday that shows trends in teen moms up to 2008. While the teenage birth rate overall saw a 2.4 percent decline, large disparities in the prevalence of teen moms still exist from state to state, with the southern states reporting the highest rates.
"Teenage birth rates are higher in the South, which we've seen in the past, though among non-Hispanic blacks, five of the ten states with the highest rates are actually in the upper Midwest, with Wisconsin having the highest rate," says T.J. Mathews, demographer and co-author on the report.
When comparing teen birth rates by state, the 10 states with the highest number of teen moms were almost all southern states: Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and Nevada.
While rates remain highest in the South, these states did not see a significant increase from 2007 to 2008. Fourteen states overall saw a significant decrease in their teen birth rates, with only Montana and Kansas showing a significant increase, Mathews says.
Despite an overall decline in teenage births since 1991 -- with one spike from 2005 to 2007 -- U.S. teen birth rates still remain substantially higher than those in other Western countries, the authors say in the report.
"Variations in teenage birth rates reflect differences in many factors, including differences in socioeconomic factors such as education and income, risk behaviors such as sexual activity and contraceptive use, and attitudes among teenagers toward pregnancy and childbearing," authors write.
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