Scotland County’s rate of teenage pregnancy saw a slight jump in 2011, according to a report released this week by the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics.
In 2011, 110 pregnancies were reported among women aged 15 to 19, down from 111 in 2010.
Among 10 to 14-year-olds, two pregnancies were reported, down from three in 2010. Overall, the rate of pregnancy in the 15 to 19 age group was 8.3 percent in 2011, a .1 percent increase from 2010.
The statewide rate of pregnancy among 15 to 19-year-olds in 2011 was 4.4 percent, a 12 percent decrease. The change represents the single biggest year-to-year drop ever and reduces teen pregnancy to the lowest levels in North Carolina’s history.
Officials say North Carolina’s success can be attributed to a combination of national trends, smart investments, and state policies that make it easier for teens to avoid getting pregnant or causing a pregnancy.
Increased use of effective contraceptives is the primary factor in teen pregnancy declines, according to a February report by the Guttmacher Institute. The report also showed a small increase in the number of younger teens waiting longer to become sexually active.
“Cultural shifts have made it easier for our young people to avoid pregnancy,” said Kay Phillips, CEO of the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC). “However, it’s important to realize that those cultural shifts would not have happened without policies that promote more effective education and access to health care.”
However, North Carolina still has the 14th highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation.
Scotland County’s 8.2 percent teen pregnancy rate is one of the highest in North Carolina, second only to Richmond County at 9 percent. Montgomery County’s rate ties Scotland’s.
“We do have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in North Carolina, but it’s because our total population is fewer than many other counties in the state,” said Kathie Cox, health educator with the Scotland County Department of Health. “Even one pregnancy is going to change the rate greater than it would for the data in somewhere like Wake or Orange County.”
Tyrrel County, with five pregnancies recorded among 15 to 19 year old women, was one of several counties with a rate too low to be considered statistically significant and had the lowest number of teen pregnancies of any state in North Carolina.
Of the 110 Scotland County women aged 15 to 19 who reported a pregnancy in 2011, 27 were white, 68 were black, and 15 identified as another non-Hispanic race.
According to the report, there was a 5.3 percent teen pregnancy rate among white teen girls and an 11 percent rate among black teen girls. Figures less than 20 are considered statistically insignificant in the center’s calculations. In 2010, the white teen pregnancy rate was 5.6 percent, with a rate of 9.2 percent among black teen girls.
More teen pregnancies ended in abortion in 2011 than in 2010, however.
Live births among 15 to 19-year-olds decreased from 100 to 93 from 2010 to 2011, with induced abortions increasing from 11 to 17.