Teen birth rates fall more in urban areas than in rural areas

Teen birth rates are falling faster in cities than in other parts of the country, show data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Studies on teen birth rates have shown a decrease since the 1990s, but in its latest report the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics broke down differences between teens in rural and urban areas. The data show that from 2007 to 2015, among teens ages 15 to 19, teen birth rates in urban areas feel by 50 percent, while in rural areas they fell by 37 percent. The national average was 47.6 percent, and smaller urban areas saw a decline of 44 percent.

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There was, however, one outlier: In rural areas of Connecticut, birth rates decreased by 73 percent. The decrease was lowest in rural areas in Alaska, at 13 percent, and Maryland, Montana, North Dakota and Pennsylvania were among the lowest with decreases of under 30 percent.

Colorado had the second-highest decrease.

Colorado also led among decreased birth rates in urban areas, as did Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Minnesota, and 17 states had a decline of 50 percent or more. Urban areas in North Dakota saw the lowest decrease, at 24 percent, and West Virginia also had a decrease of less than 30 percent.

The data also show disparities by race. Birth rates among rural white teens were about 2.5 times higher than in large urban areas and birth rates among rural Latinas were 50 percent higher than their urban counterparts. The differences in birth rates between black teens in urban and rural areas were less pronounced.

The study didn't make conclusions about why birth rates vary in certain parts of the country. Previous studies of teen birth rates over time have shown that teens are delaying sex and that they are increasingly using more effective birth control.

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