D.C. leads nation in unintended pregnancies, report says

September 10, 2013

Seven in 10 D.C. pregnancies in 2008 were unplanned, according to a new report.

The Guttmacher Institute report, released Monday, found that more than half of pregnancies in 31 states as well as the District were unplanned.

“This report shows that there is wide variation across states. Rates are twice as high in some southern states compared with those in some northeastern states—a variation that likely reflects differences in demographics and socioeconomic conditions across states,” Lawrence Finer, Guttmacher’s director of research, said in a news release announcing the report.

D.C. had the highest percentage of pregnancies that were unintended (70 percent), trailed by Mississippi (63 percent), Louisiana (62 percent) and Delaware (61 percent). The lowest percentage was logged by Utah (37 percent), meaning that in every state (and D.C.) more than one-third of pregnancies were unplanned.

Maryland (56 percent) and Virginia (53 percent) were also among the majority of states where more than half of the pregnancies were unplanned.

The District also had the highest rate of unintended pregnancies among women between the ages of 15 and 44, with 80 pregnancies per 1,000 women. Delaware was the runner-up with 70 such pregnancies, while the lowest such rate was New Hampshire at 31 per 1,000 women. Most states had a rate between 40 and 65 pregnancies per 1,000 women in that age range, according to the report. Maryland (58) and Virginia (53) also landed with the majority here.

Now, keep in mind that the report explicitly says it’s just offering estimates rather than concrete numbers. In addition, the report notes that rates were higher “in states with large urban populations,” and the District is solely an urban area (rather than a state with a mix of urban, suburban and rural populations).

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He anchors Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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