A new federal report finds Mississippi now has the nation's highest teen pregnancy rate, displacing Texas and New Mexico for that lamentable title.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Mississippi's rate was more than 60 percent higher than the national average in 2006. The teen pregnancy rate in Texas and New Mexico was more than 50 percent higher.
The three states have large proportions of black and Hispanic teenagers, groups that traditionally have higher birth rates, experts noted.
The lowest teen birth rates continue to be in New England, where three states have teen birth rates at just half the national average.
It's not clear why Mississippi surged into first place. Ron Cossman, a Mississippi State University researcher who focuses on children's health statistics, says the state's one-year increase of nearly 1,000 teen births could be a statistical blip.