Top 10 States With Highest Teenage Abortion Rates

More Teens End Their Pregnancy By Choice in These States

Teenage girl with pregnancy test
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In a nation where abortion remains legal despite ongoing legal and legislative debate, which states have the highest rates of teenage abortion?

A 2010 report by the Guttmacher Institute compiled teenage pregnancy and abortion statistics in the United States. These state by state statistics show a dramatic decrease in some states while others moved up a little on the list. However, as a whole, the U.S. teenage pregnancy and abortion rates have declined dramatically in recent years.

10 States With the Highest Teen Abortion Rates

The available 2010 data for abortions among women aged 15 to 19 is ranked by state. The rate reflects the number of abortions per thousand women in this age range. 

Rank State Abortion Rate
1 New York 32
2 Delaware 28
3 New Jersey 24
4 Hawaii 23
5 Maryland 22
6 Connecticut 20
7 Nevada 20
8 California 19
9 Florida 19
10 Alaska 17

More Teen Pregnancy Statistics and Analysis

Overall, of the 614,410 teenage pregnancies reported in the U.S. during 2010, 157,450 ended in abortion and 89,280 in miscarriage. From 1988 to 2010, the abortion rate for teens dropped in every state with many seeing a 50 percent reduction or more. In 2010, 23 states reported an abortion rate in the single digits.

It's also important to note that the majority of pregnancies and abortions involve 18- and 19-year-old women. The District of Columbia is the only place in the report with more abortions reported in the 15 to 17 range than in the older group. Yet, D.C. does not count in state rankings.

The states with the lowest abortion rates in 2010 were South Dakota, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Utah, Arkansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Texas. Each reported that fewer than 15 percent of teen pregnancies ended in abortion. However, that does not account for state residents who sought an abortion in neighboring states.

Only three of the states above rank in the top ten states with the highest teenage pregnancy rates of young women age 15 to 19. They are Nevada (ranked seventh with 68 pregnancies per thousand); Delaware (ranked eighth with 67 pregnancies per thousand); Hawaii (ranked tenth with 65 pregnancies per thousand).

The highest pregnancy rate in 2010 was in New Mexico, where 80 in every thousand teens became pregnant. This state ranks fourteenth in the abortion rate. Mississippi had the highest teenage birthrate, with 55 girls for every thousand.

The Dramatic Decrease in Teenage Abortions

According to this same report, in 2010, the teenage pregnancy rate dropped to a 30 year low (57.4 per thousand). It peaked in 1990 at 51 percent or 116.9 girls for every thousand. This is a significant decrease that has not gone unnoticed. 

In a 2014 report also by the Guttmacher Institute, a 32 percent decrease was found in teenage abortions between 2008 and 2014. This follows the 40 percent decline in teenage pregnancies over this same period.

There are many influences that are cited as causing this change. One is the fact that fewer teenagers are having sex in general. Among those teens that do have sex, there is an increased use in some form of contraception. The increase in sex education, as well as cultural influences, the media, and even the economy, are considered to have played a role as well.


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Lowen, Linda. "Top 10 States With Highest Teenage Abortion Rates." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Lowen, Linda. (2020, August 27). Top 10 States With Highest Teenage Abortion Rates. Retrieved from Lowen, Linda. "Top 10 States With Highest Teenage Abortion Rates." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 24, 2021).