Maternal and Infant Health

Teen Births and Teen Birth Spacing in Arkansas

May 30, 2024


Elizabeth (Izzy) Montgomery, MPA
Policy Analyst

Jennifer Wessel, JD, MPH
Senior Policy Analyst and Data Privacy Officer


ACHI Communications

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Developing policies to address Arkansas’s maternal health crisis requires having clear information about what Arkansas mothers are experiencing on each step of the birthing journey. This infographic focuses on the first step of that journey — pre-pregnancy preparation — by assessing birth rates and birth spacing patterns among Arkansas teens.

ACHI analyzed birth records and health insurance claims data to determine the number and rate of births among Arkansas females ages 11 through 19. We also analyzed teen birth rates by public health region in Arkansas and assessed birth spacing patterns among teens who conceived more than one pregnancy.

Key Findings

  • Between 2019 and 2021:
    • There were 331 births to females age 15 and under, 1,569 births to females ages 16-17, and 5,984 births to females ages 18-19.
    • The birth rates for those age groups were 3.4 births per 1,000 females age 15 and under, 40.5 births per 1,000 females ages 16-17, and 158.5 births per 1,000 females ages 18-19.
    • By public health region, Southeast Arkansas had the highest birth rate among females ages 15-19 with 38.2 births per 1,000 females, followed by Northeast Arkansas with 33.3 births per 1,000 females, Southwest Arkansas with 27.0 births per 1,000 females, Central Arkansas with 24.1 births per 1,000 females, and Northwest Arkansas with 23.6 births per 1,000 females.
  • Our birth spacing analysis found:
    • Among females who had a first birth between 2016 and 2018, 24.1% of 19-year-olds, 26.6% of 18-year-olds, 22.2% of 17-year-olds, 16.8% of 16-year-olds, 12.8% of 15-year-olds, 6.0% of 14-year-olds, and 4.8% of those age 13 or younger conceived a second pregnancy within 18 months of their first pregnancy. The recommended spacing from giving birth to conceiving another pregnancy is at least 18 months.

The data sources for these analyses were Arkansas Department of Health birth records (for in-state births), the Arkansas Healthcare Transparency Initiative’s All-Payer Claims Database (for out-of-state births), and National Center for Health Statistics 2020 population estimates (for teen birth rates).

See more information about maternal and infant heath in Arkansas on our topic page.


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