Data highlight

The birth rate for Oklahoma teens age 15-19 has decreased by half since 2010 (50.4 in 2010 to 24.1 in 2021), but the state still lags far behind other states, ranking 47th of 50. New Hampshire reported the lowest teen birth rate with 5.4 per 1,000 live births. Arkansas saw the highest rate at 26.5.


Number of live births per 1,000 females ages 15-19




The teen birth rate is the number of live births by females ages 15-19.

Monitoring teen birth rates are important for assessing public health, education, and social policies, as well as trends in adolescent well-being.

Why We Care

Teen pregnancies have short- and ultimately long-term adverse effects on mother and child. The upward mobility of teen mothers and children born to teen mothers is gravely hindered. By the age of 22, only 50% of teen mothers have received a high school diploma, and only 30% have earned a GED. In contrast, 90% of women who did not give birth in their teens earned their high school diploma. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2019, Hispanic teen birth rates were 25.3 % and non-Hispanic Black teen birth rates were 25.8% and were more than two times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic White teen birth rates reported at 11.4%, and the birth rate of American Indian/Alaska Native teen birth rates were the highest among all race/ethnicities at 29.2%.

Teen mothers achieve a 2- or 4-year degree at substantially lower rates, only 10%. Women in Oklahoma without a high school diploma or equivalent earn significantly less than women with a diploma or equivalent. 

Infant health is also a concern. Pregnant teens are less likely to receive adequate prenatal care, which has been shown to increase the likelihood of low birth rate, childbirth complications, and transfer into the NICU

Additionally, studies indicate that long-term effects on the child may include hindered academic achievement, socio-emotional problems, incarceration, and the likelihood of becoming a teen parent themselves.

It’s also been indicated that long-term effects on the child may include hindered academic achievement, socio-emotional problems, incarceration, and being a teen parent themselves. 

From a much broader perspective, many teens starting families receive public assistance like Medicaid, WIC, and EBT. Nationally, the cost is between $11 and $28 billion

Teen pregnancies rise in states with heavily restricted abortion and contraception access for minors. When states impose stringent limitations on abortion services and contraception availability for young individuals, it creates a challenging environment that contributes to higher rates of unintended pregnancies among teenagers.

What we can do

This issue brief was written by Metriarch staff as part of our Data Lookbook. Contributions and peer review were provided by Joya Cleveland with Strong Tomorrows

Suggested citation
 Metriarch. “Adolescent Health,” Data Lookbook (2024). URL:

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