Teenage Pregnancy, Arizona, 1986-1996
This report was prepared by Christopher K. Mrela, Ph.D., Assistant Registrar of Vital Statistics
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.
- Following a slight decline in the number of pregnancies among females aged 19
and younger in Arizona from 1994 to 1995, the number of teen pregnancies increased
by 1.2 percent in 1996. However, the growth of the female population ages 10-19 was
substantially larger (+9.4 percent in the 1994-1996 period), and the pregnancy rate
declined for the second consecutive year from 49.3 pregnancies per 1,000 females in
that age group in 1994, to 47.4/1,000 in 1995 and 45.4/1,000 in 1996
- While the 1996 pregnancy rate was the lowest of the 1986-1996 period, the
1996 number of teen pregnancies was the State's highest number ever
(Figure 1, Table 1).
One in twenty-two females ages 10-19 became pregnant in
Arizona in 1996 compared to one in twenty-one in 1986.
- Among the two major components of the pregnancy rate, the number of
abortions consistently declined from a high of 3,504 in 1987 to 2,186 in 1996
(Figure 2, Table 4).
The 1996 abortion rate of 7.4 was the lowest since at least
1980. In contrast, the number of teenage births increased for the 12th
consecutive year in 1996, to 11,247 (Figure 2,
- In the eleven years from 1986 through 1996, 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 17 percent (Figure 3), from 6,323 in 1986
to 5,249 in 1995 (Table 8).
The combined number of pregnancies among Native Americans, Asians 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 3,
Figure 4) and more than
doubled from 3,026 in 1985 to 6,190 in 1996.
- Between 1990 and 1996, pregnancy rates declined for white non-Hispanics,
Blacks and American Indians (Figure 4). In contrast,
Hispanic females aged 19
and younger were the only group for whom the pregnancy rate rose by an
additional 14.5 percent since 1990.
- In fact, Hispanic teens alone accounted for the entire increase in the absolute
number of pregnancies from 1990 to 1996 (Figure 4).
The number of pregnancies among Hispanic teens was 1,683 greater in 1996 than it
was in 1990, while the combined number of pregnancies among
white-non-Hispanic, Black and American Indian females was 931 lower than
in 1990 (Table 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 (Table 5). The above pattern
was followed in 1996 by females 18-19 years old (Table 7).
- The pregnancy rates of Hispanic, Black, and American Indian teenagers
exceeded the corresponding rates of Asian and non-Hispanic white females
in every age group in 1996. Among girls aged 14 or younger
(Figure 5), the pregnancy rate was 4.8 times greater
for Hispanics (3.8) than non - Hispanic whites (0.8). Among females 15-17
(Figure 6) and 18-19 years old
(Figure 7), the Hispanic to Asian differential in
pregnancy rates was 3.6:1 in 1996.
- Hispanics, who accounted for approximately 27.9 percent of all females 19 or
younger in Arizona, made a significantly higher proportional contribution to teen pregnancies (45.8 percent in 1996) and live births (50 percent, Figure 8). In contrast, white non-Hispanic females who accounted for 58.3 percent of all teens in Arizona had a much lower proportional representation among teen pregnancies (38.8 percent) and teen births (35.9).
- 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 83.2 percent in 1996. It is important to note that one in three
females 19 or less years old in Arizona is either Hispanic (27.9 percent) or
Native American (8.4 percent) These two ethnic minority groups accounted for
60 percent of all teen births but only 28.2 percent of all abortions to teens
in 1996. Black teenagers tend to have the highest abortion rate among ethnic
groups (9.5 abortions per 1,000 females 19 or less years old,
Table 8) but they make up only 3.7 percent of
the age group and accounted for a marginal 4.8 percent of all induced
terminations of pregnancy in 1996.
- Nearly one-third (28.3 percent) of teenage mothers in 1996 had experienced at
least one prior pregnancy (Table 16) and 80.2
percent were unmarried (Table 17). Eighty-six
percent of teenage females giving birth in 1996 had five
or more prenatal visits (Table 20). Smoking during
pregnancy was noted for one in nine (10.6 percent) teenage mothers and alcohol use during pregnancy was noted for one in 104. Use of alcohol combined with smoking was reported for 0.6 percent of all mothers under age 20 giving birth in 1996 (Table 22).
- There were approximately 26,051 mothers under age 20 in Arizona in 1996
(Appendix C), including 11,247 who gave birth in
that year. Among 297,594 females who were 19 or less years old in 1996
(Appendix A), one in every
eleven or nine percent had given birth at least once since 1987.
- Examining the sources of payment for labor and delivery reveals that
approximately one in six (16.6 percent) teenage mothers had a prepaid
plan/HMO/PPO, and 3.7 percent had other commercial insurance to pay the
costs of labor and delivery. The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment
System paid for 71 percent of all teen births (
Figure 9, Table 14 &
Table 15). The total dollar amount the AHCCCS was
charged in 1996 for the hospitalization of teen mothers exceeded $35,000,000.
(Total charges represent the dollar amount charged for the hospitalization rather
than the amount paid or the actual cost to provide the care).
- Both the average length of stay in a hospital and the average charges for
delivery were negatively correlated with age among mothers 19 or younger in 1996
(Figure 10). The average length of stay and the
average charges were the highest for girls under 15 years of age, and the lowest
for females 18-19 years old.
- Between 1986 and 1996, the birth rates of Arizona younger (15-17 years) and
older (18-19 years) adolescents have been consistently higher than the
national rates (Figure 11,
- The 1996 pregnancy rates of younger adolescents 15-17 years old in Yuma,
Pinal, Greenlee and Maricopa counties exceeded the statewide rate by 6-23
percent (Figure 13,
Table 10). The lowest pregnancy rates among Arizona girls ages 15-17 in 1996
were in Apache, La Paz, Yavapai, Graham, and Navajo counties
(Figure 13, Table 9).
- In 1986, with the pregnancy rate of 52.7/1,000, adolescent girls 15-17 years old
in Arizona exceeded by 17.1 percent the Arizona 2000 objective of
45/1,000. In 1996 their pregnancy rate of 59.4/1,000 was 32 percent higher 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 (Figure 14). In contrast, the 1996
pregnancy rates among Asian and non-Hispanic white females were at least 21
percent lower than the objective.
Public Health Services
Office of Health Planning, Evaluation and Statistics (OHPES)
Arizona Center for Health Statistics
For more information about this and other reports contact:
Christopher K. Mrela, ADHS, OHPES
Phone: 602/542-7333; FAX: 602/542-1244