New state-by-state rankings give North Carolina* the 16th highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. The ranking illustrates an improvement over past years. North Carolina ranked 14th in 2005, and 9th in 2000.
The rankings are compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, and use 2008 data. The Guttmacher Institute relies on 2008 data because it takes many states years to collect sufficient numbers on pregnancies, fetal deaths, and abortions.
States with higher teen pregnancy rates include (listed in order from 1st to 15th) New Mexico, Mississippi, Texas, Nevada, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Georgia, South Carolina, Hawaii, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida. States with the lowest teen pregnancy rates included Minnesota, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
Today’s rankings only illustrate part of North Carolina’s progress: More recent data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics shows that North Carolina has experienced more rapid teen pregnancy rate decreases since 2008. In mid-February, the CDC released preliminary national birth rate** comparisons for 2011 that showed North Carolina's teen birth rate (34.8 per 1,000 15-19-year old girls) is the closest it's ever been to the national teen birth rate (31.3 per 1,000 15-19-year old girls)*Why does the Guttmacher Institute list a different teen pregnancy rate than our website? In NC, we calculate the number of teen pregnancies using births + abortions + fetal deaths. Guttmacher includes an estimated number of miscarriages, resulting in a higher teen pregnancy number. ** Birth rates aren't the same as pregnancy rates. Birth rates are used most often in national comparisons because a) not every state collects the data needed to produce a pregnancy rate; and b) getting pregnancy estimates is a really slow process - that's why the Guttmacher national rankings are from 2008, even though we have 2011 data in NC.