Teen birth rates are the highest in the most religious states.  Many believe that the reasoning for this is the fact that religious communities may either frown upon or not talk about contraception.  So if the community is frowning upon contraception and not discouraging teen sex then the rates of teen pregnancy and births rise.

Mississippi along with having the highest obesity rate also has the highest teen pregnancies for religious states.  The study doesn’t establish the cause and effect but it allows researchers to speculate.

Religious communities in the U.S. “are more likely to discourage using contraception to teens than they discourage sexual intercourse itself.”  They are confident that in other types of religious beliefs, statistics will remain the same.  The study focused on a statewide statistic as a whole but doesn’t reveal whether an individual teen that is more religious will be more likely to have a child.

Although these results are pretty compelling they must also consider the fact that if teens or their families are very religious they are less likely to get abortions.  Christian churches tend to teach that life begins at conception, and therefore an abortion is murder.  As a result of this teaching there are lower abortion rates and higher birth rates.

However, there is still a strong correlation between religiousness and teen birth rates statewide.  The greater the prohibition against certain behaviors the more individuals wants to participate in it. This relates to an article recently published about parents that won’t let their children have junk food.

The more parents are involved in their children’s diet and prohibit them from certain foods the more likely they are to gain weight and binge on sugary, fattening foods.  Despite parent’s attempts, their children can still get these items and when they do, they have a hay day.

Greater limitations children and teens, the more likely they are going to rebel.  I’m not saying that kids should rebel, but statistically that’s what happens.   Although there are religious states in the northeast, they tend to have very low teen birth rates, most likely a result of the fact that while they’re states are highly religious, they are less conservative, with less fundamentalist type of congregations.

This study should also consider the ethnic background of state residents.  For example, states in the south are more likely to have a higher percentage of African American women and on average they generally underreport their abortions, which also mean the likelihood of underreporting of pregnancies is also a factor.

The fact is that teenage pregnancy is a growing problem in the United States.  Teen birth rates and the rate at which they were having them rose significantly in 26 states in 2006.  There seem to be more teen mothers in the spotlight like Jamie Lynn Spears, Juno, Bristol Palin, and the Secret Life of the American Teenager.  Teenage pregnancy is increasing and parents, religious groups, and government are struggling with exactly how to deal with it.

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