For the past few years, more 18- to 19-year-old women in Oklahoma gave birth than entered the state's three largest universities as incoming female freshmen, according to a recent report on teen birthrates.
Oklahoma's teen birthrates are among some of the highest in the nation, with Oklahoma's teen birthrate among 15- to 19-year-olds ranking second highest in the nation, according to an analysis by the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy.
“I don't know how much worse it needs to get for this to get on the radar of every Tulsan and every Oklahoman and every OKC resident,” said Kim Schutz, director of the Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. “It has to get on their radar. We've got to take some action, and we've got to be thoughtful and mindful of how we take that action.”
In the U.S., there were historic low teen birthrates from 2011 to 2012.
However, Oklahoma's teen birthrate remained largely unchanged — even though the total number of teen births fell 3.5 percent between 2011 and 2012 and has decreased 32 percent, compared to five years ago, according to the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy.
Sharon Rodine, director of youth initiatives at Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, said Oklahoma continues to fall behind because other states are addressing the issues around their teen birthrates more quickly than Oklahoma, and by using evidence-based practices.