Accelerating Teen Pregnancy Prevention in Phillips County, Arkansas and Coahoma County, Mississippi

Accelerating Teen Pregnancy Prevention in Phillips County, Arkansas and Coahoma County, Mississippi

Published: May 30, 2019
Publisher: Cambridge, MA: Mathematica

Sarah Bardin

So O'Neil

Dara Lee Luca

Key Findings
  • The county-level analysis found that teen birth rates are higher in communities with more individuals living in poverty or lacking a bachelor’s degree, or communities with a higher percentage of its population being age 17 or younger.
  • Individual- and household-level analyses found that positive role-modeling and mentoring from parents; parental discussions about birth control; and having a mother who graduated from high school were associated with lower rates of teen birth among women in the rural South. In contrast, young age at sexual initiation and lack of contraceptive use at first sex were associated with a higher likelihood of having a teen pregnancy.
  • Stakeholders and community members explained that many contextual factors contribute to teen pregnancy, such as discrimination based on race and class, restrictive sexuality education policies, and noncompliance with confidentiality protocols among healthcare providers.
  • The systemic nature of factors influencing teen pregnancy in Phillips and Coahoma Counties requires a multipronged intervention approach in government, community, school, and clinical settings.

Although teen pregnancy rates in the United States have declined in the past two decades, rates remain high among certain populations and in certain areas, such as the rural South. Social and economic barriers, as well as lack of access to quality health education and medical care, likely contribute to the high teen birth rates this region (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] 2019). This report presents the findings from a landscape scan to identify factors underlying teen pregnancy and strategies to decrease teen pregnancy in two rural counties in the Mississippi Delta, Phillips County, Arkansas, and Coahoma County, Mississippi.

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