Interactive Map Details TN Teen Pregnancy Rates
The State Comptroller’s office has released an interactive map that illustrates which counties have high teen birthrates.
John Dunn, a spokesman for the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, explains the map shows the percentages of teen pregnancies per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17.
“What our map shows is that there are 37 Tennessee counties, which is more than one-third of the counties in the state of Tennessee, that have a teen pregnancy rate which exceeds 19.5, and that means that those counties have to teach a Family Life Education Program in their high schools,” he explains.
In Tennessee, counties with elevated teen pregnancy rates are required by law to offer Family Life Education in public schools.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, since 1991, Tennessee’s overall pregnancy rate has dropped by at least 45 percent.
A recent report by the Offices of Research and Education Accountability said Tennessee school districts lack guidance on what they should be teaching young people about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
State law says any sex education course must include presentations that encourage abstinence.
Dunn says the map is one way lawmakers can identify the steps being taken in their districts.
“The primary reason we put this information together is to provide lawmakers with information about their districts, so that they know whether or not education requirements like the Family Life Education program are being taught in their schools,” he states.
According to the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, the number of teen pregnancies among 15-to-17-year-olds is on the decrease. Last year, pregnancies in that age group totaled more than 1,900, but five years ago, there were more than 3,000.
The rate in the three school systems in Coffee County has dropped from over 30% of teen girls that were reported pregnant in 2010 to about 15.5% in 2013.