Overview of Community Characteristics in Areas With Concentrated Poverty. One in nine of all teen births in the United States are to young women who live in metropolitan areas of concentrated poverty.


In the average metropolitan concentrated poverty ZCTA, the teen birth rate is 2.25 times higher than the national rate of 27 births per thousand females ages 15 to 19.6 The teen birth rate in high poverty ZCTAs was 63 for every 1,000 young women ages 15 to 19, and in every region it was at least twice the national level, on average. In one quarter of the concentrated poverty areas, the teen birth rate was 87 births for every 1,000 15 to19 year old females, more than three times the overall teen birth rate. And in 10 percent, or about 53 ZCTAs, teen birth rates exceeded 133 births per thousand young women, almost five times the national teen birth rate, and more than
double the overall fertility rate among all women of child-bearing age. These high poverty metropolitan ZCTAs are home to five percent of the Nation’s 15 to 19 year old females. Yet, 11 percent of all births to teens in the United States are to teens in these neighborhoods.

Figure 3: Average Number of Births per 1,000 Women, Age 15-19
Figure 3: Average Number of Births per 1,000 Women, Age 15-19

Of the 3.2 million women of child-bearing age (15-50) living in metropolitan areas of concentrated poverty, 240,000 reported giving birth in the year prior to survey response, for a birth rate of 75 births per thousand women age 15 to 50. The overall birth rates in these areas do not differ markedly from those for the Nation, particularly when one nets out the effects of the very high differential for teen births. The national birth rate for the same time period was 56 per thousand and the birth rate among all poor women was 98 per thousand.

6 The American Community Survey (ACS) generally produces and undercount of teen births relative to the actual level found in Vital Statistics, which is around 31 births per 1,000 females age 15 – 19 for the most recent year (2011). And thus, these ACS estimates are roughly a bit lower, still, than the actual values for the corresponding 2007-2011 period considering the teen birth rate, as measured by Vital Statistics, declined by 25% during that time period.

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