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Geographical Mapping of Unmarried Teen Births and Selected Sociodemographic Variables


Address correspondence to Barbara Blake, 7304 White Castle Lane, Plano, TX 75025. E-mail:


Texas is one of five states in the United States in which teen pregnancies exceed 70 per 1,000 females aged 15 to 17 years. The purpose of this retrospective exploratory study was to analyze and map sociodemographic variables associated with unmarried teen childbirth. It was hypothesized that selected sociodemographic variables would be related to the unmarried teen birthrates. Correlational analysis was employed to ascertain the relationship between the sociodemographic variables and the unmarried teen birthrates for 81 zip codes in Dallas County, Texas. The births occurred between January 1, 1995 and December 31, 1996. Geographic Information System (GIS) software illustrated the spatial distribution of the unmarried teen birthrates in conjunction with sociodemographic variables extracted from the 1990 U.S. Census Bureau. The results indicate that unmarried teen births are positively related to low socioeconomic status, single-parent family households, and minority populations. Mapping supports the quantitative relationships between the variables. Maps can be used to identify communities where teens most vulnerable to unmarried pregnancy and childbirth reside and provide policy makers with explicit information about their constituents so that they can develop and implement population-specific interventions.