Teen births fall in Indiana, nation

Teen births have fallen to a record low in the United States and dropped sharply in Indiana too, a development that could save taxpayers millions of dollars in public health and other assistance.

The National Center for Health Statistics reports that teen births fell 9 percent across the U.S. in 2014 to 24.2 births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19.

In Indiana, the rate fell 7.6 percent to 28 births per 1,000 females in the same group.

Indiana officials could not be reached to say whether the rate represented a record low for the state. Indiana ranked 33rd among states for teen birthrates in 2014.

Teen childbearing cost Indiana taxpayers at least $227 million in 2010 for public health care (Medicaid and CHIP), participation in child welfare, lost tax revenue and other costs, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a private, nonprofit group based in Washington.

Between 1991 and 2010, there have been 214,623 teen births in Indiana, costing taxpayers a total of $6 billion over the period, the group said.

According to the Indiana State Department of Health, babies of teenage mothers are more likely to result in infant death and other poor outcomes.

Indiana counties with the lowest rate of teen births between 2004 and 2010 were Monroe (13 percent), Hamilton (15), Hendricks (21), Wells (24) and Delaware (25), according to County Health Rankings, produced by the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

At the other end, Indiana counties with the highest rate of teen births during the same period were Jennings (69 percent), Scott (63), Marion (60), Jackson (58) and Elkhart (58).

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