West Virginia is seeing slight decreases in teenage pregnancy, according to a recent report released by a pro-choice nonprofit group.
Margaret Chapman Pomponio, executive director of WV FREE, a reproductive rights organization, said since the group began reporting on teenage pregnancy and childbearing in 2010, there has been a small decrease.
"West Virginia has a disproportionate rate of teen births, but we are making progress," Pomponio said. "We're seeing more productive collaborations in response to our high rate of teen pregnancy."
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Adolescent Health, West Virginia's birth rate among 15- to 19-year-olds was 44.8 per 1,000 teenagers in 2010 - the ninth highest teenage birth rate in the country.
While the national rate declined between 2007 and 2011, the rate among 15- to 17-year-olds in West Virginia increased by 17 percent.
On average, one in 22 teenage girls in West Virginia will become pregnant, according to the federal agency.
The rising statistic garnered statewide attention in 2008 and acted as a catalyst for organizations in West Virginia to combat the issue, Pomponio said.
"I think drawing attention to it was the first step and using the facts and the data to propel the collaborative approach forward," Pompiono said.
"Any time as West Virginians we get a negative statistic thrown at us, we work hard to try to address it, and that's certainly been the case with teen pregnancy and healthy youth."
WV FREE began reporting on teen pregnancy in 2010 in an effort to raise awareness of the rising numbers and help address the problem. The birth rate dipped slightly from 49.7 per 1,000 teenagers in 2005 to 2009 to 44.8 in 2010.