Yesterday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released the state’s birth data for 2009, showing an 11% decline in teen births since 2007, pushing the teen birth rate to its lowest in decades. However, the birth rate for Hispanic teenagers is still five times the rate for their White counterparts.
Holyoke reported the highest teen birth rate in Massachusetts, at 96.8 per 1,000 teen girls aged 15-19— almost 5 times the state rate. Communities like Holyoke, Lynn, and Lowell have seen teen birth rates trending up in recent years, following strong declines in the late 1990s and the begin of the millennium. Community data is available to assist cities and towns in understanding specific challenges. For example, almost 40% of births to teens in Lawrence were to teens aged 15-17, compared to 29% statewide. In Southbridge, almost half (48.4%) of teen births were to teens under 18.
Our Executive Director Patricia Quinn responds to these numbers:
We need to make sure that every young person has access to comprehensive sex education, that sexually active young people have support for the use of condoms and contraceptives, and that all youth have a clear path to adult identity with motivation to delay parenting,”
Please read the full press release from the Alliance for more detailed analysis of the 2009 birth data.
For a chart with rates by community for the 25 cities with the largest numbers of teen births in 2009, click here. For fact sheets on Holyoke and Springfield, please visit our Youth First project page.