Numbers show teen pregnancy higher in certain zip codes - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Numbers show teen pregnancy higher in certain zip codes

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - New numbers show how critical the teen pregnancy crisis in Memphis and Shelby County really is, especially in certain zip codes within the county.

Teen birth rates in the Memphis-Shelby County area are high when compared to similar cities across the country.

"We have a lot of issues that a lot of urban areas deal with here in Memphis," Rebecca Terrell of the Memphis Center for Reproductive Health said Wednesday. "We are a big city."

Statistics from a recent report by the Urban Child Institute say in 2009, 15 percent of babies born in Shelby County were to teen mothers - approximately 5 percent above the national average.  Additionally, according to the institute's report, black teens are three times more likely than whites to give birth.

"There's no data that necessarily shows that one race or another is going to have more teen pregnancies, but I think we can make connections between access to healthcare, education rates and economic advantages," Terrell said.

In 2008, the number of teen pregnancies in Shelby County were highest in the Frayser, Raleigh, Whitehaven and Hickory Hill areas.  The zip codes include 38127, 38128, 38109, 38116, 38118, and 38115, and all had anywhere from 144 to 269 births.

According to Terrell, neighborhoods with concentrated poverty tend to have higher rates of teen pregnancies.

"The chance of their child being born at a low birth weight is much greater the younger they are, so waiting and postponing that child bearing to a later age is good for mom and baby," Terrell said.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly