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The "Bible Belt" AKA: The Teen Pregnancy and Divorce Belt

Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
First a definition for those unclear:

Wikipedia said:
Bible Belt is an informal term for an area of the United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism is a significant part of the culture and Christian church attendance across the denominations is extremely high.

The Bible Belt consists of much of the Southern United States and part of the Southwestern United States. During the colonial period (1607–1776), the South was a stronghold of the Anglican church. Its transition to a stronghold of non-Anglican Protestantism occurred gradually over the next century as a series of religious revival movements, many associated with the Baptist denomination, gained great popularity in the region.

The region is usually contrasted with the mainline Protestantism and Catholicism of the northeastern United States, the religiously diverse Midwest and Great Lakes, the Mormon Corridor in Utah and southern Idaho, and the relatively secular western United States. The percentage of non-religious people is the highest in the northeastern state of Vermont at 34%, compared to the Bible Belt state of Alabama, where it is 6%.[1] Mississippi has the highest number of Baptists, at 55%.[1]

The earliest known usage of the term "Bible Belt" was by American journalist and social commentator H.L. Mencken, who in 1924 wrote in the Chicago Daily Tribune: "The old game, I suspect, is beginning to play out in the Bible Belt
This subject was inspired by this post on Reddit:

According to the US Census Bureau 2010 Statistical Abstract, in 2008, the ten highest divorce rates by state included Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kentucky, Florida, and Mississippi. Most of the others were western states, with Nevada leading the country. But what's even more interesting is the ten lowest rates by state included Massachusetts, Iowa, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey.


The Guttmacher Institute report "U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births, and Abortions" is also very telling. In 2005, 6 of the 10 highest teenage pregnancy rates by state were "Bible Belt" or southern states, which were Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. NINE of the lowest 10 teenage pregnancy rates included northern states, which were New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Iowa.
As the post also points out, low income levels are also contributing factors to teen pregnancy and divorce. However, it's hard to ignore the high amount of religious people in those areas as well. We've heard high ranking religious officials comment on teen pregnancy before as well as divorce. We also hear about the "sanctity of marriage" from them as well when talking about gays yet the divorce rates remain high.

It's also a slight give in, but it's not opinion that abstinence only education is popular in many of these states and I think it's very easy to argue that when children are not properly taught about sex, they're far more likely to suffer its negative and heavy consequences.

So what do you think of all this? Is it a complete coincidence? What other factors could be at play?
 

Dabs

Registered Member
I live in southeastern Tennessee, and I'd have to say, divorce rates are much higher in my area than teen pregnancy. Just about every person I know is divorced, but yet, our high schools have very few girls who are pregnant or who have dropped out because of pregnancy. But that's just my area like I said, I know statistics are higher in other bigger places in my state. You bring up a good point regarding this being the Bible belt and with all the religious folk, why is the pregnancy rate so high? But, in my old little town, it's full of hypocrites. They are the ones who will preach to you about the right and wrong, while come Monday morning, they are the ones doing the wrong. And it's those religious folk whose children had babies had a very young age. The schools can't teach everything, the parents have to teach too. But sadly, there are parents, in every state, who care more about their owndamnself, than they do their children.
 

shelgarr

Registered Member
The attempted end result of love for God and sanctity of marriage and preserving one's virginity are all good healthy things. How it's taught seems to be in question. If a parent fails at illustrating the virtus of such things, then they'll also fail in teaching proper use of birth control. It's all about decision making and introducing subjects in a way that isn't such a huge turn off. They are valuable life considerations and inspiring kids to care about them takes a special approach.
 
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Mihael_langley

Formerly "Maikeru"
The attempted end result of love for God and sanctity of marriage and preserving one's virginity are all good healthy things.
Yep, true. But that requires discipline so... here we are ^_^
 

CaptainObvious

Embrace the Suck
V.I.P.
I think if you look at the stats you won't find a huge disparity of these rates. In other words, you're not going to find a teen pregnancy rate of 90% in State A and a 10% rate in State B.

I also find the area called The Bible Belt a little silly, there are people of different briefs everywhere but that's a subject of a different thread I guess.
 

Major

4 legs good 2 legs bad
V.I.P.
I think the biggest factors in teen pregnancy are low income levels and poor education. I don't have any numbers or links to back anything up, only my own observations and what I've heard from others. In my area and other surrounding towns, teen pregnancies are almost unheard of. But I know a few people from other more blue collar areas that say almost everyone they knew from high school had a kid before the age of 20.

Divorce is a lot different and probably happens for a ton of different reasons. I don't think religion is a major factor. If anything, I think it strengthens bonds a lot of the time.
 

MenInTights

not a plastic bag
Let me add a little controversy.

The Guttmacher Institute report "U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births, and Abortions" is also very telling. In 2005, 6 of the 10 highest teenage pregnancy rates by state were "Bible Belt" or southern states, which were Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. NINE of the lowest 10 teenage pregnancy rates included northern states, which were New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Iowa.
White population by percentage:
New Hampshire 95.1%
Vermont 96.2
Maine 96.5
Minnesota 88.2
North Dakota 91.7
Wisconsin 87.3
Massachusetts 81.9
Nebraska 87.3
Iowa 92.7
CensusScope -- Demographic Maps: Non-Hispanic White Population

IMO, the black race is the correlation between divorce and teen pregnancies and demographics. However, I'm not making ANY judgment here on the correlation between the 2.
Perhaps its that racism still exist and that leads to lower incomes. Or liberal political policies have destroyed the black family. Or the fault of corporations that set out the destroy the black race such as Planned Parenthood. Or that racist policies have placed a disportional amount of black men in jail. I don't know? I sense the trend is turning and really hope it is.



Marriage and divorce rates:

• Only 45% of African American households contain a married couple, compared to 80% for Whites, and 70% among Hispanics. (U.S. Census)

• In 1890, 80% of African American households were comprised of two parents. One hundred years later, only 40% of African-American children live in married-couple households.

• African Americans are significantly less likely than other racial/ethnic groups to ever marry, less likely to remarry, more likely to divorce, separate and cohabit and bear and rear children out-of-wedlock (and in mother-only households).

• There is a marriage gap in the African American community based on educational attainment. Only 28% of Blacks with no education are married compared to 55% of Blacks with a college education.

• One explanation for lower marriage rates among women, as identified by blackdemographics.com, is related to the earnings potential among black men. With higher college graduation rates among African American women, the median income fell 12% for Black men while rising 75% for the women from 1974 to 2004. A high-earning woman has little incentive to marry a low-earning man.

• Black women divorce at a rate nearly double of either white or Hispanic women.

In 1890, 80 percent of African American households were comprised of two parents. One hundred years later, only 40 percent of African-American children live in married-couple households.

• Between 1970 and 2000 the percent of African Americans who have ever married declined from 64% to 55% among men and from 72% to 58% among women (2003 census).

• Higher mortality rates due to poor health care, violent crime, and ever growing incarceration rates, have been shown to decrease the African American male population. This may be linked to the increasing numbers of Black women struggling to raise children and manage families alone.

• According to blackdemographics.com the low rate of marriage and high divorce rate in the African American community are decreasing the African American middle class, built on a two-earner paycheck.
African Americans and the Black Community - National Healthy Marriage Resource Center
 
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Dekzper

Registered Member
I agree with the low income and poor education thing. People with higher incomes are expected to do very well in school and can usually expect a great future. But people with low incomes prolly dont believe they'll ever have much and dont have any good reasons to really care about what they do. Not good.
About the divorce thing. I dont think income or education are very important. One of my uncles (who is pretty wealthy) has been married 4 times already. Btw, he's also very religious. Also, one of our neighbors (also pretty wealthy) has 2 University degrees and he cant stay married either. Anyway, I've talked to our neighbor and my uncle a lot and they're both really cool so I dont understand why they keep divorcing so much.

Btw, MIT posted while I was typing mine. I was responding to Echoes post.
 
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