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Teen Birth Rate In Mass. At Historic Low

The birth rate among teens in Massachusetts is at its lowest recorded level in the state's history, a report out Friday says.

The birth rate of teens ages 15-19 fell 14 percent last year, from 14 births per 1,000 women in 2012 to 12 births per 1,000 women in 2013, the Massachusetts Department of Health reported.

“This is terrific news for all Massachusetts families, and a dramatic indication that our decisions to invest in our young people — through education, support and resources — can have a real and lasting impact on their lives and in their communities,” Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement.

According to the report, there were 2,732 babies born to teen mothers between 15 and 19 years old in 2013, down from 3,219 the previous year. The number of children born to teen mothers in that age bracket is significantly lower than the 7,258 births reported in 1990.

  • Municipalities with more than 50 teen births in 2013: Boston (318), Brockton (96), Chelsea (55), Fall River (89), Holyoke (70), Lawrence (139), Lowell (106), Lynn (106), New Bedford (126), Springfield (289), Worcester (179). All of the above municipalities — with the exception of Chelsea, Holyoke and Leominster — are among the state's 30 most populated.
  • There are 276 municipalities in the state that saw four or fewer teen births in 2013. (Click to see a complete list of these municipalities.)

However, the report does note that exact numbers could change to reflect updated information. It is also important to note that the exact figures above "are based upon the number of births and not on the number of mothers giving birth," the report says.

As of its release Friday, the report says there were 71,618 births to mothers living in Massachusetts in 2013, down from 72,457 births in 2012. Its findings show that of those babies, 32,069 were born to mothers under the age of 30.

A screenshot from the state department of health's 2013 Massachusetts Birth report, which details the trends in the number of births by mother's age -- either over 30-years-old or under -- from 1980-2013. (Courtesy Mass. DPH)
A screenshot from the state department of health's 2013 Massachusetts Birth report, which details the trends in the number of births by mother's age -- either over 30-years-old or under -- from 1980-2013. (Courtesy Mass. DPH)

More on this year's report:

This year's report has an updated format that contains a "brief summary of birth data, comparisons to recent years in order to note emerging trends, and six special topic areas created to stir more thorough discussion on a variety of health issues related to pregnancy."

The department statement added that other key data points in the document included:


  • "In 2013, the percentage of pregnant women who had their teeth cleaned by a dentist or dental hygienist rose to 46 percent. Pregnancy can alter or complicate oral health in women, which can lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes and poor oral health in their children."
  • "In 2013, the prevalence of gestational diabetes (GDM) was 5.3 percent, which is comparable to the 2012 prevalence of 5.6 percent."
  • "In 2013, more than half of mothers (53.1 percent) had a normal body mass index (BMI) prior to becoming pregnant."
  • In 2013, the cesarean delivery rate was 31.5 percebt compared to 31.7 percent in 2012. This figure was 4 percent lower than the percentage for the entire United States (32.7 percent).

According to the report, data on births is based on information obtained from the Massachusetts Standard Certificate of Live Birth filed with the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.

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