Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


How to Save Minnesota's U.S. House Seat: More Teenage Mothers?

Bookmark and Share

Last month Smart Politics examined the political impact on the state of Minnesota should it lose one U.S. House seat as projected by many analysts, including a recent report issued by Election Data Services.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data detailing the teenage (15 to 19 year old) birth rates for each of the 50 states for 2006 (the most recent year for which data is available). While Minnesota has the 22nd highest overall birth rate among the 50 states, it only has the 41st highest rate among teenage mothers - at 27.9 per 1,000 women in that age group. That rate is 33.4 percent below the national average of 41.9 births per 1,000 teenage girls.

As it turns out, two-thirds of the U.S. House seats projected to be added to states during reapportionment in 2012, are in states with the Top 10 highest teenage birth rates, including Texas (+4 seats, 63.1 births per 1,000 teenage girls), Arizona (+2 seats, 62.0 per 1,000), Nevada (+1 seat, 55.8 per 1,000), and Georgia (+1 seat, 54.2 per 1,000).

Not surprisingly, in addition to Minnesota, several other states with low teenage birth rates are among those projected to lose a U.S. House seat, including Massachusetts (-1 seat, 21.3 births per 1,000 teenage girls), New Jersey (-1 seat, 24.9 per 1,000), New York (-1 seat, 25.7 per 1,000), Pennsylvania (-1 seat, 31.0 per 1,000), Iowa (-1 seat, 32.9 per 1,000), and Michigan (-1 seat, 33.8per 1,000).

Just how strong is this association?

Smart Politics
conducted a bivariate correlation of the teenage birth rate for each state and its projected gain, loss, or no change in the number of U.S. House seats, and found these variables are positively related (.544, significant at the .01 level). In other words, greater increases in teenage birth rates are associated with greater increases in representation in Congress.

This, of course, makes sense: higher birth rates among any segment of childbearing women means a greater population base for that state, which drives the census numbers in a state's favor, and thus helps to insulate it from losing a seat (and, perhaps, to help it to gain a seat) in Congress.

But not all states are experiencing both a surge in teenage and general birth rates. Utah, for example has the highest overall birth rate in the nation, at 21.0 per 1,000 women, but just the 33rd highest teenage birth rate, at 34.0 per 1,000 teenage girls. Florida, which is another state projected to gain a seat in 2012, has only the 38th highest general birth rate (13.1), but has the 17th highest rate among teenagers (45.2).

The discrepancy in state rankings in Minnesota between its teenage birth rate (22nd) and overall birth rate (41st) is the seventh largest in the country, behind Utah, West Virginia, Idaho, Nebraska, Florida, and Kentucky.

Smart Politics also conducted a linear regression analysis, using statewide teenage birth rates as the independent variable and projected change in reapportionment as the dependent variable. The results show an increase of 1 birth per 1,000 teenage girls in a state causes an increase of about one-fifth (0.17) of a seat in Congress. Twenty-two percent (R Square = .218) of the variation in reapportionment in this model is explained by changes in the teenage birth rate (the model as a whole is highly significant, at the .001 level).

Of course, there are several other factors other than the birth rate (among teenagers or otherwise) that contribute to population changes within a state, such as economic development and the ability to attract jobs and immigrant populations. The economic stagnation in industrial Midwestern states such as Michigan and Ohio is seen as a leading reason for the expected loss of U.S. House seats in those states. The mass exodus after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita will also see a likely loss of a seat in the state of Louisiana.

U.S. Census data also reveals that the teenage birth rate itself is highly correlated to the percentage of minorities (.439, significant at the .01 level) and Hispanics (.293, significant at the .05 level) residing in a state. The new CDC birth rate numbers show that 8 of the 12 projected new seats will be distributed to 4 of the 6 states in the nation with a 20+ percent Hispanic population (Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida). Minnesota ranks just tied for 35th among the states in percentage of Hispanic population and 39th among racial minorities in general. Iowa, which is also projected to lose a seat, ranks just 35th and 46th respectively.

Previous post: U.S. Senate Race Ends Up 12 Votes Shy of '62 Gubernatorial Margin of Victory Record
Next post: The Frugal Three: Wisconsin Legislators Reject Annual Pay Increase

1 Comment


  • The highest rate among teenage mothers are found in United States. As this news is alarming especially to the parents of teenagers nowadays. Rising child is not as easy as eating pie so a person must have enough health education to live well and healthy.

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

    Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

    Political Crumbs

    Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

    Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


    An Idaho Six Pack

    Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting