Louisiana women gave birth to 65,755 live babies in 2002, a decline of 0.7 percent from the previous year, compared with the national decrease of 0.1 percent for the same period. The crude birth rate was 14.4 live births per 1,000, the 12th highest nationally, but down from 14.6 per 1,000 the previous year. African American women between 15 and 44 years of age represented 36 percent of the female population, but accounted for 41.2 percent of the live births. The African American birth rate is 18.1 percent, for whites 12.7 percent.

In 2002, Louisiana was second only to Mississippi in the percentage of low birthweight babies (less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces). African American and young mothers had higher percentages. Teen pregnancy remained a problem; ...

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