Geographic variation in trends and characteristics of teen childbearing among American Indians and Alaska Natives, 1990-2007

Phyllis A. Wingo, Catherine A. Lesesne, Ruben A. Smith, Lori De Ravello, David K. Espey, Teshia G. Arambula Solomon, Myra Tucker, Judith Thierry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


To study teen birth rates, trends, and sociodemographic and pregnancy characteristics of AI/AN across geographic regions in the US. The birth rate for US teenagers 15-19 years reached a historic low in 2009 (39.1 per 1,000) and yet remains one of the highest teen birth rates among industrialized nations. In the US, teen birth rates among Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth are consistently two to three times the rate among non-Hispanic white teens. Birth certificate data for females younger than age 20 were used to calculate birth rates (live births per 1,000 women) and joinpoint regression to describe trends in teen birth rates by age (<15, 15-17, 18-19) and region (Aberdeen, Alaska, Bemidji, Billings, California, Nashville, Oklahoma, Portland, Southwest). Birth rates for AI/AN teens varied across geographic regions. Among 15-19-year-old AI/AN, rates ranged from 24.35 (California) to 123.24 (Aberdeen). AI/AN teen birth rates declined from the early 1990s into the 2000s for all three age groups. Among 15-17-year-olds, trends were approximately level during the early 2000s-2007 in six regions and declined in the others. Among 18-19-year-olds, trends were significantly increasing during the early 2000s-2007 in three regions, significantly decreasing in one, and were level in the remaining regions. Among AI/AN, cesarean section rates were lower in Alaska (4.1%) than in other regions (16.4-26.6%). This is the first national study to describe regional variation in AI/AN teen birth rates. These data may be used to target limited resources for teen pregnancy intervention programs and guide research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1779-1790
Number of pages12
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Alaska Native
  • American Indian
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Trend analyses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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