SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) – Since its peak in 1991 the South Carolina teen birth rate has declined 61 percent. The decline includes a 10 percent decrease between 2013 and 2014 placing the birth rate for teens ages 15-19 years old at 28.5 per 1,000 females, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
According to a news release from the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the most substantial declines over the past two decades have been seen among African-Americans, ages 15-17, seeing a teen birth rate decrease by 77 percent since 1991.
Although success has been seen among teens ages 17 and younger, numbers show there is more work needed among older teens between ages 18-19 years old who make up 72 percent of all teen births in South Carolina.
The South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (SC Campaign) CEO, Forrest Alton, credits those working with youth in communities for starting early and talking to younger teens in an age appropriate way. Alton also stresses that parents, professionals, and community members must also stay late by continuing to provide older teens with information and services that would include making sure older teens have access to healthcare and contraception.
Although South Carolina teen pregnancy numbers have declined, officials at the SC Campaign continue to encourage communities to avoid becoming complacent, as teen pregnancy remains rampant in South Carolina.
According to a news release from the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, there were nearly 4,300 births to teenage mothers in 2014.
The teen birth rate for Horry County dropped from 36.9 percent in 2013 to 29.5 percent in 2014, according to a news release from SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
South Carolina counties with higher than average volume of teen births, include Aiken, Anderson, Orangeburg, Darlington, Sumter, Florence, Spartanburg, Horry, and Greenwood.