A recent victory with respect to teen sexual behavior is the reduction of the national teen birth rate. In 1991, there were 61.8 births per 1000 females aged 15-19. By 2014, this rate plummeted to 24.2 births per 1000 adolescent females. Averages, however, do not reflect state-level variation. For example, in 2014, Kentucky reported 35.3 births per 1000 adolescent females, while New York reported a teen birth rates of 16.1 births per 1000 adolescent females. This report asks: are these discrepancies due to regional factors, and are these differences statistically significant? To examine rural and urban differences in outcomes of teen sexual behavior, data from two rural states (Kentucky and Tennessee) and two urban states (New York and Florida) were analyzed. The results suggest significant differences in teenage sexual behaviour outcomes between and within states. For example, whilst teenage pregnancy rates were similar in all states, abortion rates were significantly lower and birth rates were higher in rural than urban states, suggesting possible differentials in health, social, and economic policies between states.

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Published in Dynamics of Human Health, v. 4, issue 4.

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