LAURINBURG — Scotland County ranked among the top 10 counties in the state for teen pregnancies, according to a report recently released by SHIFT NC — Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens North Carolina.
The report said that for 2014, there were 63 pregnancies in Scotland County for girls between 15 and 19. That is a 1.9 percent reduction from the year before, but Scotland still ranked ninth for its teen pregnancy rate rates among all 100 counties.
The county had a birth rate of 43.5 per 1,000 girls versus the state’s rate of 25.9 per 1,000. The number of teen pregnancy by age for 2014 were 21 for 15-17-year-olds; and 42 for for 18-19-year-olds, the report said. The number of repeat pregnancies was 12.7 percent.
Tier I counties, like Scotland make up the majority of the bottom 20 counties for rates. The report said that counties with the highest teen birth rates tend to be poorer, more rural counties. Notable exceptions were Onslow and Cumberland, which have large military populations, and Craven.
Counties with lower rates tend to be wealthier, more urban or areas with universities, such as Wake, New Hanover, Pitt and Watauga.
For surrounding counties: Robeson ranked 16th with 241 pregnancies; Richmond ranked 19th with 67 pregnancies; Hoke ranked 27th with 41 teen pregnancies; and Moore ranked 67th with 66 pregnancies.
Statewide, 8,280 girls ages 15-19 gave birth in 2014. Hispanics continue to have the highest teen pregnancy rates, followed by American Indians and African-Americans. North Carolina ranked 29th among the states in teen birth rate in 2014.
Still the rate of teen pregnancies and births are at a historic low for the Tar Heel state with about 75 percent of counties seeing a decrease in teen pregnancy rates for the year.
The state set a goal of reducing teen pregnancies by 30 percent by 2020, according to Kay Phillips, CEO of SHIFT, which had previously been known as the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina. The campaign works with communities, educators, clinicians, and families to adopt evidence-based approaches to teen pregnancy prevention.
“We’re there-ish. We set out to reduce teen pregnancy 30 percent in 10 years. We reduced it 29.97 percent in just three years. That’s amazing,” she said. “But we’re not done yet. We know that young people still need access to care and our state needs more teen-friendly health care providers. And we know that we need to address some of our most serious disparities with precision efforts to get more resources to pockets of very high-risk teens.”
The annual public costs of teen childbearing came to about $9.4 billion in the United States and about $325 million in North Carolina in 2010, according to Sydney Atkinson of the Women’s Health Branch of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. She cited the National Campaign.
Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023