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Other factors include the escalating cost of some types of birth control and their unavailability in some communities, said Stephanie Birch, who directs maternal and child health programs for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
Glowing media portrayals of celebrity pregnancies don't help, either, she said. "They make it out to be very glamorous," said Birch, who cited a calculation by Alaska officials that teen births were up 6 percent in that state in 2006.
A variety of factors influence teen birth rates, including culture, poverty and racial demographics. For those and other reasons, kids in mostly white New England likely would delay child birth, said David Landry, a researcher at the Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based organization which supports abortion rights and gathers research on sexual and reproductive health.
"It's more costly for youth in the Northeast to have a teen birth than for youth in the South, in terms of opportunities they'll miss," he said.
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