According to an article by Carol Robidoux in the Saturday morning Union Leader, fewer New Hampshire teenagers have babies than their counterparts in other states. The article discusses some reasons, but never mentions the number of teen pregnancies that do not result in live births.
I think that’s an important statistic. After all, if you wanted to get the teenage birth rate down to zero all you would have to do is abort every teen pregnancy right? So claiming to have a lower birth rate is meaningless in any other social context without that data.
It is also worth noting that New England on the whole appears to have lower birth rates than the nation anyway. Only Maine’s was lower than New Hampshire’s based on 2008 data, so for New Hampshire ‘teens’ to be representative of the state and region as a whole is hardly an exceptional detail without anything else to compare it to.
The 2008 data also showed New Hampshire to have the lowest fertility rate, again a factor unexplored. So these results may simply be expressive of a cultural component this article does not attempt to address, one which again cannot be clarified without knowing how many pregnancies there are that do not result in life births either through unintentional loss or intentional abortions.
The article does not compare year on year data either, which I don’t have handy as I type this. If someone does not provide it, I’ll go searching later for a follow up.
Overall this article is a used car sales pitch which plenty of people will herald in its incomplete form as indicative of some superior cultural New Hampshire prowess. That’s a huge stretch.
But I won’t be surprised if John Lynch or the democrats try to use this to shine up their morality credential. "Look, we lowered teen birth rates?" But would they just be shining up a turd particularly when most of the actual births are occurring with girls between 18-19, which at the age of majority is hardly indicative of a problem with ‘teen pregnancy;’ though it may be a problem of births out of wedlock which is not addressed in the article either.
And on the whole how much would you want to emphasize the issue politically? If you are trying to sell your state as this great place to live, yet you have one of the lowest birth rates in the nation, a declining and aging population, a self-described ‘brain drain’ problem, and now even teenagers don’t want to have babies here? What does that say about how attractive you have made the place?
It says future Ghost town.
Put all that speculation aside, and we are still left with a front page news piece that tells us nothing of value, while attempting to make us feel better. Given the lack of depth, it tells us next to nothing we really need to know about teen pregnancy without clarifying the other factors affecting live births. But that won’t stop people from using it out of context.