Teen Birth Rate

How are we doing?

In 2018, the Tucson Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had a rate of 24.5 births per 1,000 females age 15-19. This ranked Tucson seventh among peer western MSAs in teen birth rate. Portland had the lowest rate at 15.2, while El Paso the highest at 44.9 births per 1,000 females age 15-19. Tucson’s teen birth rate has declined over the past few years and is currently below the state rate of 27.4.

Why is it important?     

Teen parents and their children face immediate as well as long-term impacts related to their health, education, social, and economic opportunities. Teen mothers typically have lower educational attainment and are at greater risk of living in poverty. This in turn can have considerable social and economic costs to the community as a whole.

How do we compare?

Pima County (which is also the Tucson metropolitan area) had a 2018 teen birth rate of 24.5 births per 1,000 females age 15-19. Pima County's rate was higher than the U.S. rate of 23.0, but better than the state of Arizona. Compared to other Arizona counties, Pima County had the second lowest teen birth rate in the state. Coconino County had the lowest rate in 2018 with 18.6 births per 1,000 females age 15-19, while La Paz County has the highest rate at 51.4. Arizona’s teen birth rate of 27.4 placed it eighth when compared to the 10 western states. To view more state and county level data for Arizona visit the Teen Birth Rate Comparison Page.

In the Tucson MSA, Hispanic or Latino teens had the highest birth rate among the race and ethnicities reported in 2018 with 32.5 births per 1,000 females age 15-19. The teen birth rate for black or African Americans was 25.8 and 14.0 for whites. Among the 12 western MSAs, El Paso posted the highest teen birth rates for both Hispanic or Latinos and whites, while San Diego posted the lowest rates for those same groups. With the exception of Las Vegas, Hispanic or Latino teens tended to have higher birth rates than the other race and ethnicities for the western MSAs. In Las Vegas, black or African Americans had a teen birth rate significantly higher than found in the other western MSAs at 41.8.

What are the key trends?

Teen birth rates have steadily declined since 2006 when the rates in the Tucson MSA and the state of Arizona were 54 and 63 births per 1,000 females age 15-19, respectively. National level teen birth rate data is only available since 2011, but has also steadily fallen from 38 births per 1,000 females age 15-19. The teen birth rate has declined 54.6% in the Tucson MSA and 56.5% in the state of Arizona since 2006, and 39.5% in the U.S. since 2011. Research shows that the declining teen birth rate can be attributed to teens engaging in less sex, the use of more effective contraception, and pregnancy prevention programs. 

How is it measured?

The teen birth rate represents the number of live births to mothers 15 to 19 years of age per 1,000 females. The source is the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Vital Statistics System, as made available through the County Health Rankings which calculates the rates based on population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.