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Purpose

This report is the 1995 update of information about pregnancies among females under age 20. The data for 1995 are placed in a temporal context by comparison with the data for the preceding years.

Methods and Sources


In this report, pregnancies are measured as the sum of three components: live births, fetal deaths (or stillbirths) and abortions to Arizona resident women, unless otherwise specified. It does not include spontaneous fetal losses that occur at less than 20 weeks of gestation. Induced terminations of pregnancy do not include those performed out-of-state to Arizona residents, since they are not reported.

Teens or teenagers are defined as 10-14 year old preadolescents and adolescents 15-19 years of age. Where possible, the data presented distinguish 18-19 year old teenagers from those aged 15-17 and girls under 15 years of age.

The source documents for the data are the certificates of live births, fetal deaths and reports of induced terminations of pregnancy filed with the Arizona Department of Health Services.

For consistency, population denominators for Arizona's resident females, used to calculate rates, are projections from the Population Statistics Unit in the Arizona Department of Economic Security (data for 1985-1989 and 1993-1995) and the U.S. Census Bureau (data for 1990).

Detailed population data by gender, age and county were unavailable for 1991-1992. In order to obtain the population denominators for these two years, the 1990 percentages of population breakdowns were applied to 1991 and 1992 total state population estimates published by the DES.

The counts of Arizona's females 18-19 years old projected by the DES for 1993-1995 were substantially lower than the 1990 census enumerations. For unexplained reason, the number of females 18-19 years old declined from 54,713 in 1990 to 49,276 in 1993, and then slightly rose to 50,206 in 1994 and 52,392 in 1995. As a result, the 1993 and 1994 rates previously published for females in this age group were higher than the 1990 rates, even if the actual number of pregnancies did not increase.

These rates were recalculated in order to better reflect temporal changes in the numerators (i.e., the annual numbers of pregnancies among females 18-19 years old). The corrected population denominators for 1993-1995, used to calculate rates for this age group, assume a modest increase in the population of females 18-19 years old during that time, identical with the population growth of all females aged 19 and younger:

Estimated population of females18-19 years old:

1990 54,713
1991 56,178
1992 57,603
1993 57,793
199458,887
1995 61,390


The recalculated rates in Table 2 and Table 7 are followed by an asterisk.

 

Data Organization

Tables 1-9 present annual numbers and rates of pregnancy, fertility and abortion from 1985 to 1995 for Arizona adolescents. Temporal trends and changes may be assessed from these data. Tables 10-23 provide data for 1995 by county of residence and age. Live births to teenage mothers re also reported by marital status, education, previous pregnancies, trimester of entry into prenatal care, source of payment for labor and delivery, and tobacco and alcohol use during pregnancy. Proportional contribution of teen births to all births is shown in Table 24. Table 25 compares birth rates in Arizona and United States.

The 1995 population denominators for Arizona resident females by age group and county of residence are presented in the Appendix A.

The estimated number of mothers who were under the age of 20 is also shown in the Appendix.

 

Selected Findings

This section presents some illustrative findings from the 27 tables which follow. It is not intended to be an exhaustive analysis of the tabulated data.

The number of pregnancies to Arizona females less than 20 years old declined four-tenth of one percent, from 13,407 in 1994 to 13,356 in 1995 (Table 1).

The number of 2,294 teenage abortions reported in 1995 was the lowest since at least 1980. In contrast, the number of teenage births increased for the 11th consecutive year in 1995, to 10,937.

While the 1995 pregnancy rate of 47.4 pregnancies/1,000 females aged 19 or younger was the second lowest of the 1985-1995 period, the absolute number of pregnancies to teenagers was 1,760 greater in 1995 than in 1985.

In the eleven years from 1985 through 1995, a significant transition in the ethnic profile of Arizona teenage pregnancies occurred.The number of pregnancies among non-Hispanic white preadolescent and adolescent females declined 18.6 percent (Figure 1), from 6,490 in 1985 to 5,286 in 1995 (Figure 2, Table 8). The number of pregnancies among Native Americans and Blacks remained virtually unchanged. In contrast, Hispanic females aged 19 or younger were the only group for whom the annual number of pregnancies continued to increase (Figure 1 - Figure 6) and almost doubled between 1985 and 1995.

Hispanics, who accounted for approximately 26.9 percent of all females 19 or younger in Arizona, made a significantly higher proportional contribution to teen pregnancies (44.2 percent in 1995) and live births (48.8 percent). In contrast, white non-Hispanic females who accounted for 60.6 percent of all teens in Arizona had a much lower proportional representation among teen pregnancies (39.6 percent) and teen births (36.8).

The number of pregnancies to Hispanic females aged 17 years and younger exceeded the number of pregnancies among non-Hispanic white peers in every year since 1992 (Figure 4, Table 5). The above pattern is being followed by females 18-19 years old (Figure 6, Table 7).

The average annual pregnancy rates of Black, Hispanic and Native American teenagers exceeded the corresponding rates of non-Hispanic white females in every age group by no less than 28 percent in the 1985-1995 period Black teenaged females had the highest age-specific pregnancy rates in the 1985-1995 period. Among girls aged 17 or younger (Table 5), the average annual pregnancy rate was 2.2 times greater for Blacks (39.7) than non - Hispanic whites (17.8). Among females 18-19 years old, the Black to white differential in pregnancy rates was 2:1 in 1985-1995 (Table 7).

Nationally, it is estimated that only 50 percent of all pregnant adolescents give birth. The available data suggest that younger and older adolescents in Arizona, if pregnant, are more likely than their national peers to give birth and less likely to use abortion to terminate pregnancy. During the decade of the 80's, 72.6 percent of pregnancies to Arizona's adolescents under age 20 ended in live births. This increased to 76.5 percent of all teenage pregnancies in 1990 and to 82 percent in 1995. It is important to note that one in three females 19 or less years old in Arizona is either Hispanic (25.9 percent) or Native American (8.2 percent) These two ethnic minority groups accounted for 57.8 percent of all teen births but only 26.9 percent of all abortions to teens in 1995. Black teenagers tend to have the highest abortion rate among ethnic groups (16.7 abortions per 1,000 females 19 or less years old, Table 8) but they make up only 3.6 percent of the age group and accounted for a marginal 4.3 percent of all induced terminations of pregnancy in 1995.

In contrast, only non-Hispanic white females accounted in 1995 for a lower fraction of live births (36.8 percent) than abortions (54.2 percent) to Arizona teenagers

Less than one in five (19.1 percent) teenage mothers had private health insurance to pay the costs of labor and delivery (Tables 14 and Table 15). Nearly one-third (28.1 percent) of teenage mothers in 1995 had experienced at least one prior pregnancy (Table 16) and 79.6 percent were unmarried (Table 17). Eighty-three percent of teenage females giving birth in 1995 had five or more prenatal visits (Table 20). Smoking during pregnancy was noted for one in nine (11.1 percent) teenage mothers and alcohol use during pregnancy was noted for one in 86. Use of alcohol combined with smoking was reported for 0.9 percent of all mothers under age 20 giving birth in 1995 (Table 22).

There were approximately 25,176 mothers under age 20 in Arizona in 1995 (Appendix B), including 10,973 who gave birth in that year. Among 281,959 females who were 19 or less years old in 1995 (Appendix A), one in every eleven or nine percent had given birth at least once since 1986.

Between 1985 and 1995, the birth rates of Arizona younger (15-17 years) and older (18-19 years) adolescents have been consistently higher than the national rates (Figure 7, Figure 8, Table 25).

Between 1985 and 1995, the annual pregnancy rates of females aged 19 and younger in Maricopa and Pinal counties consistently exceeded the statewide rate (Table 9). The lowest pregnancy rates among Arizona adolescent females in 1 were in Apache, Graham, and Yavapai counties (Table 9).

In 1985, with the pregnancy rate of 53/1,000, adolescent girls 15-17 years old in Arizona exceeded by 17.8 percent the Arizona 2000 objective of 45/1,000. In 1995 their pregnancy rate 61.1/1,000 was 35.8 percent higher than the objective (Figure 10). Even if there were no pregnancies among Black and American Indian girls in 1995, the pregnancy rate calculated for all ethnic groups would remain higher (53.4/1,000) than the objective. Substantial reduction in the number of pregnancies among Hispanic females 15-17 years old is required for Arizona to achieve the above objective for the year 2000 (see Appendix C). In contrast, the 1995 pregnancy rates among Asian and non-Hispanic white females were at least 19 percent lower than the objective.

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