This article was produced in collaboration with GCAPP
You may have heard a lot of things about teen birth among Latina teens in Georgia. For example, that Latinas have the highest teen birth rate of all racial or ethnic groups in the state. But these facts are only a small part of a much bigger story.
In 1995, when GCAPP was founded, the birth rate among Latina teens was 99.6. That means that for every 1,000 Latina girls age 15-19 in our state, 99 of them gave birth. Between 1995 and 2002, the birth rate continued to increase, finally reaching its peak of 138 per 1,000. But since then, the birth rate among Latinas has steadily declined, to reach its lowest point in Georgia’s recent history at 42.4 in 2014, which is the most recent data we can get. This is a 70% decrease overall and something to be celebrated! Although the Latina birth rate is at an all-time low, it’s still 50% higher than the overall Georgia teen birth rate of 28.3 and Latina teens still have the highest birth rates compared to other racial and ethnic groups.
So, how this story continues is up to you. There are lots of things you can do to continue to reduce teen birth among Latinas.
First, get connected! Download GCAPP’s gPower app to quickly find clinics in your area that provide teen-friendly reproductive health services and to talk directly with a health educator to get real-time answers about your sexual health (plus a lot of other cool features!). You can search for the app on Google and Apple platforms by searching “gPower.” Share it with friends or other young people in your life, too!
Second, start talking! The research is clear that one of the most effective ways to reduce teen birth rates is for teens and families to talk together about sex, love, and relationships. Share your values, ask and answer questions, and listen to each other. Although this may seem scary at first, GCAPP has created a Let’s Talk Guide to help families introduce this topic with each other and keep talking throughout adolescence.
Third, get involved! Ask what kinds of effective and medically accurate sexual health education programs are available to teens in your community that address not just the birds and the bees, but also healthy relationships, self-esteem, decision-making, puberty, and other important topics. Programs like these are often provided through school districts, through community programs like the Boys and Girls club, or through local churches. If they aren’t being provided, start talking about their benefits and talk with GCAPP about how to introduce and integrate programs into your community.
With the support of communities and families and the involvement of Latino teens in their own reproductive health knowledge and care, we can continue to see the rates of teen birth drop among Latinos. Got questions or looking for resources? Visit www.gcapp.org for more information!
In addition, Ser Familia can provide support through programs such as Renovacion Juvenil and Strengthening Families. Visit our page for more details: http://serfamilia.org/
Renovacion Juvenil: http://serfamilia.org/programs/youth/
Strengthening Families: http://serfamilia.org/programs/families/strengthening-families/