Teen fertility rates in Texas increased in 2022 for the first time in 15 years, according to a recent report from the University of Houston’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender & Sexuality. The state implemented its six-week abortion ban in 2021.

Texas’ overall fertility rate, or births per 1,000 women ages 15-44, rose by 2% in 2022. Hispanic individuals accounted for the most additional births in 2022, with a 5.1% increase in fertility rates.

The details

Fertility rates have declined steadily in Texas and nationwide since 2007 as various types of birth control became more widely available. But in September 2021, Texas banned abortions at about six weeks into a pregnancy, after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Texas had 16,147 more births in 2022 than in 2021, or a 2% increase. Meanwhile, the overall national fertility rate fell slightly, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fertility rates after the six-week ban went into effect varied by race, researchers found. Hispanic individuals saw a 5.1% increase in fertility rates from 2021 to 2022, or 13,503 additional births. Fertility rates for Asian individuals rose by 0.9%, while rates fell by 0.6% for Black individuals and 2% for white individuals.

Hispanic individuals ages 25-44 saw a steeper 8% increase in fertility rates in 2022.
Varying fertility rates across racial and age groups may be tied to people’s access to contraception and the ability to travel for an abortion, researchers said.

“Travel to access abortion in other states requires money, time off work and in many cases childcare. The need to care for children already at home might be a key factor in the rising birth rates among women 25 and older,” said Elizabeth Gregory, director of the UH Institute for Research on Women, Gender & Sexuality.

More information

Texas’ teen birth rates increased by 0.39% in 2022, ending a 15-year period of declines. Fertility rates rose by 1.2% for Hispanic teens and 0.5% for Black teens, while they fell 5% for white teens.

Rising teen fertility rates may impact young parents’ ability to get an education and secure higher-paying jobs, the report said. Other studies show that high percentages of people who experience unplanned pregnancies are poor and have less access to contraception.

Looking ahead

In August 2022, Texas’ “trigger ban” went into effect, outlawing nearly all abortions unless the birth parent's life is at risk. The ban was implemented two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which protected the right to abortion.

Twenty other states have banned abortion since the June 2022 Supreme Court decision, including several of Texas’ neighboring states, the report said. New Mexico is Texas’ only border state without a restrictive abortion ban, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a policy organization focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

“Texans seeking abortions now may have to travel further than before, and an even larger rise in fertility rates is expected” in 2023, researchers said.