Fewer teens in Hawaii are getting pregnant, according to a national report released Tuesday, though the number of 3- and 4-year-olds attending school dropped and the state’s education performance still trails slightly behind national averages.
The 2017 Hawaii Kids Count report, compiled each year by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, measured health, economic well-being, education and family/community to determine overall child well-being in the state.
The report shows Hawaii’s teen birth rate decreased from 33 births per 1,000 15- to 19-year-olds in 2010, to 21 per 1,000 in 2015. The teen birth rate nationally similarly dropped — from 34 per 1,000 in 2010 to 22 per 1,000 in 2015.
“We’ve seen some impressive improvements there,” said Ivette Rodriguez Stern, project director at the University of Hawaii Center on the Family. “And it speaks to a lot of the preventative programs that we’ve seen at both the federal and state level. So we’ve kept improving in a positive direction there.”
The report showed 52 percent of Hawaii’s 3- and 4-year-olds were not enrolled in school between 2013 and 2015, which is up from 44 percent from 2009-11. Leaders at the Center on the Family said that could be because of the high cost of preschool and early education programs for youngsters in Hawaii and a lack of easy access in many areas of the state.
Hawaii showed the biggest gains in economic well-being factors, which Stern attributed to declining unemployment rates.
For example, the number of teens not in school and not working dropped from 12 percent in 2010 to 6 percent in 2015,…
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