The District of Columbia ranks higher than any state on rates of teenage pregnancy (256 per 1,000), birth (102 per 1,000) and abortion (121 per 1,000). However, the District of Columbia, as a major city, has inner-city patterns of teenage reproductive behavior but no suburban regions or demographics to offset the urban statistics. Also, a large proportion of teenage women in the District of Columbia are black (61%),24 and blacks have higher levels of teenage pregnancy and fertility than other groups.
Of the states, Nevada had the highest pregnancy rate per 1,000 women aged 15-19 (140), followed by California (125), Arizona (118), Florida (115) and Texas (113). At the other end of the scale, North Dakota had the lowest teenage pregnancy rate in 1996 (50 per 1,000). Rates in Minnesota, Maine, New Hampshire and Iowa followed (56-58 per 1,000). In the states with the lowest rates, the ratio of the pregnancy rate of older teenagers to that of younger teenagers is relatively high, ranging from 3.4 in North Dakota to 2.8 in Minnesota and Iowa; by comparison, this ratio is 2.5 in the country as a whole.
There has been little change since 1988 in the states with the highest and lowest pregnancy rates. California and Nevada were among the top five states in 1988 and 1992 as well as 1996, and North Dakota had the lowest teenage pregnancy rate in all three years (57, 59 and 50 per 1,000, respectively). Minnesota and Iowa also were among the lowest five states for all three years. Between 1988 and 1992, about an equal number of states had an increase and a decrease in pregnancy rate.
Between 1992 and 1996, however, the pregnancy rate decreased in every state except New Jersey, where it had declined 13% between 1988 and 1992, and then stabilized at 97 per 1,000. In 34 states, the decrease between 1992 and 1996 was 10% or more. Alaska and Hawaii experienced the largest reductions (31% and 27%, respectively); California, Delaware, South Dakota and Washington also had declines of more than 20%.