Trends in birth rates: New York City 1970-1995
Pregnancy in Adolescence
Traditional means of assessing the problem of teen pregnancy have relied on national or state statistics. By using large geographic areas, usually comprised of a heterogeneous population, it is impossible to tell which subareas have more of a problem than others. This study focused on trends in teen birth rates at the health district level in New York City over a 25-year period to illustrate variations among ethnic groups. Teen birth rates were calculated based on vital statistics published by the New York City Department of Health. They were calculated as the number of births per 1,000 females in each of three age groups: under age 15, 15-17, and 18-19. Rates were calculated for the entire City, for four boroughs, and for selected health center districts. The decline in the birth rate among New York City teens is most significant in health districts populated by blacks. An exception is the noted increases in birth rates in districts populated predominantly by Hispanics. Data show substantial decreases among older teens compared to younger teens. Birth trends in small areas of New York City mirror trends seen nationwide. As migration changes the ethnic composition of small areas, it is important to monitor trends so that policies and programs can be targeted to those in need.