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David Morgan
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Teen Birthrates Decline 57 Percent in New Mexico

UPDATE: At the time of this release, the Population Institute had given New Mexico an A for reproductive health. Following the publication of this release, the Population Institute reassessed the grades, and New Mexico is now one of 17 states to receive a B or higher for reproductive health.

The New Mexico Department of Health’s Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics has released new data revealing a 57 percent decrease in birthrates among teens ages 15 to 17 between 2000 and 2014 in New Mexico. In that same time period, the teen birth rate for 15 to 19 years olds decreased by 48 percent. New Mexico’s decrease in teen births in the 15 to 19 year-old age group in 2014 slightly improves our ranking from the state with the highest teen birth rate in the country to the fourth highest.

“While teen birth rates have decreased substantially in New Mexico, teen births in other states have also decreased. That means we have to work harder to get better results. Teen births are a complex public health matter.  While being a parent is one of life’s most rewarding experiences, we want to make sure young New Mexicans are creating a reproductive life plan so that becoming a parent is something that is planned,” said Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “Teen births are a primary driver of generational poverty, and reducing teen births will improve high school graduation rates and lead to a better trained workforce, which will ultimately help our economy and improve our health status.”

Teen childbearing in New Mexico cost taxpayers at least $103 million in 2010, according to the most recent analysis from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy; for the nation overall, teen childbearing cost taxpayers $9.4 billion.

Recently the Population Institute, a non-profit organization, graded all 50 states for reproductive health.  New Mexico was one of four states in the country to receive an A because of systems and policies in place for reproductive health. Other states that received an A were California, Oregon and Washington state.

“The report shows New Mexico is poised to make change and substantially lower teen births,” said Secretary Ward.

The Department of Health provides confidential family planning services at low- or no-cost in 73 sites at Public Health Offices, Primary Care Clinics & School-Based Health Centers across the state. More information on (DOH)’s teen pregnancy prevention resources are available online here from NMDOH.

New Mexico’s teen pregnancy prevention programs also include:

  • The BrdsNBz Text Messaging Service is a service in which teens can text “NMTeen” and parents can text “NMParent” to 66746 to opt-in to the service. From there, they can text their sexual health questions to 66746 and get medically accurate answers within 24 hours. New Mexico in 2013 became the second state in the country to offer this service statewide.
  • The Teen Outreach Program (TOP), which reaches teens in grades 6 through 12 has been proven successful in preventing teen pregnancy and increasing academic success by increasing life skills on a number of different topics, including healthy relationships, communication, values clarification, examining influences, goal setting, decision making, sexual health, and community service learning.
  • From Playground to Prom is an education workshop which works with the most important educator of sexual health for teens – their parents. The skill building program helps parents learn how to have more conversations with their teens about sex and sexual health and make those conversations positive.

In addition, the Department of Health encourages the use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) to prevent unintended pregnancies.  LARC, an implant or IUD that is low maintenance and highly effective, is available at low to no cost, particularly to low-income or uninsured women and teens at the Title X Family Planning clinics in public health offices statewide. It’s also available at some community and school-based health centers. To find a clinic, visit the Family Planning program or Office of Population Affairs.  The Department of Health is seeking private partnerships to help make LARC more accessible to teens.

Among the other findings in the latest statistics on 2014 births and deaths in New Mexico:

  • The birth rates in the state and the United States were the lowest rates ever recorded; 12.6 births for every 1,000 people in New Mexico in 2014 and 12.4 in the US for 2013.
  • Fertility rates among women, 15-29, fell between 1990 and 2014, and rates increased for women ages 30-44.
  • Death rates have been traditionally lower in New Mexico than in the US. Beginning in 2012 and continuing in 2014 death rates in state surpassed those of the nation. In 2014 the New Mexico age-adjusted mortality rate was 784.5 compared to the US rate of 731.9 for 2013. Almost fifty percent of all deaths in New Mexico are attributable to three leading causes; heart disease, cancer and unintentional injuries.

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We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

Versión en Español

En un esfuerzo para hacer que nuestros comunicados de prensa sean más accesibles, también tenemos disponibles una versión en español. Por favor presione el enlace de abajo para acceder a la traducción.

La Tasa de Natalidad en Adolescentes Disminuyó un 57 por ciento en Nuevo México