LUMBERTON — The teen pregnancy rate in Robeson County fell in 2012, but Robeson still ranks sixth in the state when it comes to teenagers who get pregnant.
“This is a good sign,” Bill Smith, the county’s Health director, said. “Although the rate has improved, and we are still sixth in the state, it certainly indicates that the sex education in our schools teaching consequences is bearing benefits.”
According to statistics compiled by the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics and released by the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina, the pregnancy rate for ages 15 to 19 in Robeson County in 2012 was 61.8 for every 1,000 girls, an overall decrease of 10.6 percent from the 2011 rate. The rate was 31.5 for ages 15 to 17 and 100.4 for ages 18 and 19.
There were 308 teenagers in Robeson County who got pregnant during 2012 — 88 ages 15 to 17 and 220 ages 18 and 19.
Robeson County’s teen pregnancy rate decrease mirrored that of the state. Teen pregnancy rates decreased in 74 of the state’s 100 counties in 2012.
The statewide 2012 rate of 39.6 per 1,000 — a historic low — means that fewer than 4 percent of teenage girls in North Carolina experienced a pregnancy in 2012.
“Most counties have nearly eliminated pregnancies to minors, which is a tremendous victory,” Kay Phillips, chief executive officer of the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina, said in a statement. “The best way for us to make additional progress overall is by helping our state’s medical providers connect young adults with the most effective forms of birth control and by helping our young adults know how, and where, to access the health care they need.”
Other highlights from the report include:
— In Robeson County, the pregnancy rate of blacks was 45.3 per 1,000, and it was also 45.3 for whites.The pregnancy rate for Hispanics was 82.9 per 1,000. The report did not include a pregnancy rate for American Indians.
— The rates in counties that touch Robeson for teens ages 15 to 19 were: Columbus, 50.5 for every 1,000 teens; Scotland, 73.9, which was second highest in the state; Hoke, 47.4 percent; Cumberland, 56.8; and Bladen, 47.3.
— The teen abortion rate dropped by 13 percent across the state.
— Pregnancies to white, black, and Hispanic teens dropped 8 percent, 11 percent and 13 percent respectively.
— Statewide, 24.5 percent of pregnancies occurred to a girl who had been pregnant before. This was the lowest proportion of repeat pregnancies in state history. The percentage of repeat pregnancies in Robeson County was 26.3.
— North Carolina’s teen pregnancy rate is now 62 percent lower than when it peaked in 1990.
Smith said that the report is a little deceptive because it includes 18- and 19-year-olds, who accounted for 71 percent of the teenage pregnancies in the state during 2012 and 71.4 percent of all teenage pregnancies in Robeson County.
“These are not really individuals that are part of the teen (pregnancy) problem,” he said. “These are adults.”