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Teen Birth Rate Increased In California

Armen Hareyan's picture

California has more teenage girls pregnant as the teen birth rate increased in the state in 2006, after 15 years of decline.

A report by Public Health Institute examined teen birth rate in 2006 for those aged from 15 to 19. This teen age diapason is estimated by Department of Public Health for rating teens.

Teen birth rate in California rose from 37.2 per 1000 teens in 2005 to 37.8 per 1000 teens in 2006. California ranks much below from the average nationwide teen birth rate which is estimated to be 41.9 births per 1000 teens, but still the increase is annoying. The highest rate is reported in the following regions: Central Valley, Los Angeles-San Bernardino county, Imperial-Riverside-San Diego county. Nationwide teen birth rate also increased from 50433 births in 2004 to 52770 births in 2006.

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Different experts suggest different factors are leading to teen birth rate increase, such as weakness of sex education programs, lack of funding for such programs, parents who don't spend much time on talking to their children about sexual life, Hispanic families' approach to adolescent pregnancy, and growing teen population in general. However, Public Health Institute mentions that the rise is not significant and that it is because of complex factors.

Teen birth rate increase brings not only health, but also financial problems. For example, rising rates cost taxpayers about $1.7 billion in 2006, because of lowered teen parents' income and tax accordingly and foster care costs. Besides, birth control funding experienced 37% cut last year, and a new 10% cut is proposed by California Governor. If the new cut is approved some 30400 will be out of sex education programs, according to Public Health Institute estimate.

California health officials are concerned abou the increase of the birth and pregnancy rates of the teenage girls. "This discrepancy reinforces that California cannot be complacent with the status quo," explains lead-author Dr. Norman Constantine, PHI senior scientist and clinical professor of public health at UC Berkeley. "We have a lot more work to do to realize our full potential in reducing teen birth rates."

The reason we see the pregnancy rates for teenagers coming from 2006 and not from 2007 or the trend of this current year is because the report examines the birth rate for