Oklahoma had the third highest (worst) teen birth rate in the nation for 15-19 year-olds in 2013, and the second highest for older teens, aged 18-19, the group that represents two-thirds of all teen births. Though our state’s teen birth numbers and rates have been declining since the peak in 1991, following the national trend, they have remained among the worst in the nation. Bottom line: other states have been focused on investing in prevention education programs, adolescent health services and community mobilization strategies that really work, thus have been getting better, faster.
“The state’s persistently high teen birth rates and the negative consequences of too-early, unprepared teen child-bearing are a costly reality that Oklahoma has yet to adequately address statewide,” says Sharon Rodine, Youth Initiatives Director at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. “Teen pregnancy is preventable when our communities ensure that quality, effective educational programs and health services are made available for all young people,” she stated, “and, thankfully, our two metro areas have become the ‘twin engines’ that are finally propelling our state forward.”
Strong, coordinated, community-wide teen pregnancy prevention initiatives are expanding in Oklahoma County and Tulsa County – the two counties that comprise over one-third (37%) of all teen births in the state each year. The Oklahoma County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaboration and the Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy are implementing community teen pregnancy prevention plans that have begun to significantly reduce teen births by expanding evidence-based programs, teen-friendly clinics and messages to youth and adults that encourage protection. Several tribes, particularly the Cherokee Nation and Choctaw Nation, have strengthened their evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention efforts, including both primary prevention as well as programs designed to reduce subsequent teen births.
For downloadable copies of current Oklahoma teen birth data and information about effective resources and community collaborations, check the “Fast Facts” and “Resources” sections of this website.
Did you know?
Two counties, Oklahoma and Tulsa, represent 40% of all teen births in 2012. Over half of all teen births occurred in 8 counties: Oklahoma, Tulsa, Comanche, Cleveland, Muskogee, Pottawatomie, Garfield and Creek.
Two-thirds of all teen births occured in 18 counties: Oklahoma (1,223), Tulsa (922), Comanche (196), Cleveland (193), Muskogee (136), Pottawatomie (122), Garfield (121), Creek (117), Carter (111), Canadian (110), Kay (108), LeFlore (105), Sequoyah (94), Stephens (88), Cherokee (85), McCurtain (83), Okmulgee (82) and Mayes (81) .
For maps showing the 2012 county teen birth numbers and rates in Oklahoma, check the "Fast Facts" section on this website.