Arkansas still leads the country in the number of babies born to teenage mothers, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics. The report says that the teen birth rate in Arkansas has fallen considerably since 2007, but teens in Arkansas give birth at a rate of 51 per 1,000 females of their age group. In 2007, the rate was 60 births per 1,000 females. The national average is 31.3 births per 1,000 in the group.
All of the other states with high teenage pregnancy rates were also southern states. Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma also ranked towards to the top of the list. Several grants are currently in place to reduce teen pregnancy. These include a $590,000 grant for an abstinence-only program that's offered in Arkansas, Benton, Carroll, Chicot, Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Johnson, Prairie, Pulaski, Saline and Washington counties, and a $480,000 grant for comprehensive sex education that covers contraception and abstinence for high-risk children in Pulaski, Garland, Jefferson, Lonoke and Saline counties.
The good news is that the teen birth rate in the US is dropping overall. It dropped by nearly one half in 10 years.