For decades, teen births had been decreasing in West Virginia and the nation. But, in 2006, West Virginia’s rates began to worsen, and the disparity between the state and national rates became much greater. The 2012 West Virginia KIDS COUNT Data Book focuses on the recent upward trend in the state’s teen birth rate and outlines a set of solutions proven to reduce teen pregnancy, including full implementation of the state’s comprehensive sex education curriculum.
In 2010, West Virginia’s teen birth rate was 45 per thousand teen girls, while the national rate was significantly lower at 34 per thousand. With a rank of 40, West Virginia is among the 10 worst states in the nation for teen births. KIDS COUNT’s report notes that the state’s teen birth rate increased between 2005 and 2009, and the difference between the state and the national rates has grown steadily wider. However, in 2010, the teen birth rates in both West Virginia and the nation showed a slight decrease.
KIDS COUNT’s 2012 Data Book presents the teen pregnancy picture in West Virginia in the form of an “info-graphic” and uses a county-by-county bar graph and color-coded state map to demonstrate how the increase in teen births is particularly acute in eight southern and central West Virginia counties. McDowell County’s rate is by far the highest at 95.76 per thousand teens. That rate is nearly seven times higher than Monongalia County, which boasts the state’s lowest teen birth rate, and more than twice the state average of 45 per thousand in 2010. KIDS COUNT’s West Virginia teen pregnancy info-graphic is available as a pull-out poster in the 2012 Data Book.