Teen Birth Rate Higher in Religious States

A new study suggests that conservatively religious states tend to have the highest rates of teenagers giving birth. Experts say this is because religious communities are more successful in discouraging teens from using contraception that they are in discouraging them from having sex.

So which state has the highest rate of teen births?


The top 10 states with highest teen birth rates are as follows

  1. Mississippi
  2. New Mexico
  3. Texas
  4. Arkansas
  5. Arizona
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Nevada
  8. Tennessee
  9. Kentucky
  10. Georgia

The following list is the top 10 most conservatively religious states (as determined by the percentage of respondents who agreed with conservative responses to eight statements including, "Scripture should be taken literally, word for word."):

  1. Mississippi
  2. Alabama
  3. South Carolina
  4. Tennessee
  5. Louisiana
  6. Utah
  7. Arkansas
  8. North Carolina
  9. Kentucky
  10. Oklahoma

Some may find the results of the study surprising because so many conservative religious groups teach teens about sex from an abstinence-only viewpoint. In fact, critics of abstinence-only curricula (versus a safe-sex curricula) will likely use this study as evidence that religious organizations and communities are not doing all they can to reduce and prevent unwanted teenage pregnancy.

(Interestingly enough, the study says nothing about that fact that the marriage rate among teenagers is also a lot higher in many of these states, which might help to further explain the link between religion and birth rate.)

Is your state on one of these lists? Does it make sense that the most religious states would have the highest rates of teens giving birth?


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