Pennsylvania

Please be sure to read the data notes & limitations page. This explains many aspects of these comments, including how only changes over time can be discussed as statistically significant, and why the comparisons with national rates discuss data for selected subgroups.

Overview of Findings

Data indicating changes for Pennsylvania were limited to a few objectives and findings were mixed. Encouraging changes include a decrease in overall mortality among younger and older adolescents, and suicide among older adolescents. The rate of motor vehicle crash mortality decreased was flat. Discouraging findings include increases in overall mortality among young adults and homicide among older adolescents. Because baseline data were not available for most objectives, change in most areas could not be evaluated.

Final rates for Pennsylvania were very similar to national rates for most objectives, including overall mortality for young and older adolescents, motor vehicle crash mortality, homicide, suicide, physical fighting, suicide attempt requiring medical attention, sexually experience, currently sexually active, condom use, and tobacco use. Pennsylvania rates compared favorably to national rates of riding with a driver who had been drinking alcohol and weapon carrying. The state’s rates of young adult mortality and safety belt use were worse than the national rate.

Highlights of Findings by Objective

Jump To: Mortality; Unintentional Injury; Violence; Substance Use and Mental Health; Reproductive Health; Chronic Disease Prevention

Mortality

The rate of overall mortality in Pennsylvania decreased among younger and older adolescents, but increased among young adults. This pattern held for most subgroups; notable exceptions include a sizable increase among older adolescent Black males and large decrease among young adult Black males. In 2007, males had higher mortality rates than females across all three age groups, with a two- and three-fold difference among older adolescents and young adults, respectively. Blacks had the highest mortality rate across all three age groups. Among older adolescents, Whites had a higher rate than Hispanics; the reverse was true among young adults.

Comparison with national data. As in Pennsylvania, national mortality rates decreased for younger and older adolescents, and increased among young adults. Also similar to Pennsylvania, the national rate among Black young adult males decreased. However, the mortality increase among older adolescent Black males in Pennsylvania contrasts with a decrease for that group nationally. In 2007, Pennsylvania mortality rates for younger adolescents matched the national rates for that age group; among older adolescents, Pennsylvania generally had slightly lower rates than the national rates; an exception is a much higher rate among Black males Pennsylvania compared to that group nationally. Young adults in Pennsylvania had higher mortality rates than young adults nationally. The national gender and racial/ethnic patterns generally matched the patterns noted for Pennsylvania, except for smaller difference between Hispanics and Whites nationally, compared to Pennsylvania.

Unintentional Injury

(motor vehicle crashes, safety belt use, & riding with a driver who has been drinking alcohol)

Please note the data for safety belt use are presented as “not wearing safety belt,” the inverse of the objective. This text describes safety belt use.

Adolescent mortality in Pennsylvania due to motor vehicle crashes (MVC) changed little from baseline, overall and for those subgroups with available data. In 2007, males had more than twice the rate of MVC mortality of females. Whites had a higher rate than Blacks.

Comparison with national data. National adolescent motor vehicle crash mortality was also flat from baseline. In 2007, Pennsylvania MVC mortality rates roughly matched the national rates.  The patterns of national gender and racial/ethnic differences matched the patterns noted for Pennsylvania.

In 2009, the rate of safety belt use in Pennsylvania was higher among females than males. Whites had the highest rate of safety belt use; Blacks and Hispanics had virtually matching rates, which were somewhat lower than the rate for Whites.

Comparison with national data. In 2009, the rate of adolescent seat belt use in Pennsylvania was slightly lower than the national rate. As in Pennsylvania, females had a higher rate than males. Nationally, Hispanics had the highest rate of safety belt use, followed by Whites, then Blacks. This differs from the pattern noted for Pennsylvania, where Whites had the highest rate, and Hispanics and Blacks had the lowest rates.

Females and males had roughly matching rates of riding with a driver who had been drinking in 2009 in Pennsylvania. Hispanics had the highest rate of this behavior, followed by Whites and Blacks, who had roughly matching rates.

Comparison with national data. In 2009, the Pennsylvania rate of adolescents riding with a driver who had been drinking was lower than the national rate. As in Pennsylvania, males and females had similar rates. Also similar to Pennsylvania, Hispanics had the highest rate of this behavior. However, Blacks had higher rates than Whites nationally, compared to roughly matching rates for these groups in Pennsylvania.

Violence

(homicide, physical fighting, weapon carrying)

The rate of adolescent homicide mortality among older adolescent males in Pennsylvania increased from baseline; there was a large increase among Black males in that age group. Rates for other groups were based on fewer than 20 deaths; because these rates are unstable, no comparisons could be made.

Comparison with national data. The national rate of homicide among older adolescents was flat from baseline, in contrast to an increase in Pennsylvania. Similar to Pennsylvania, the rate for older adolescent Black males increased. In 2007, the Pennsylvania homicide rate for older adolescents was slightly higher than the national rate for that group. Similarly, the rate for older adolescents Black males was slightly higher in Pennsylvania than nationally.

Pennsylvania rates of physical fighting were higher among males than females in 2009. Hispanics had the highest rate of physical fighting, followed by Blacks, and then Whites.

Comparison with national data. The rate of physical fighting in Pennsylvania in 2009 was just slightly lower than the national rate. As in Pennsylvania, males had higher rates than females nationally. Also similar to Pennsylvania, Whites had the lowest rate nationally. However, Blacks had the highest rate of this behavior nationally, followed by Hispanics, the reverse of the pattern noted in Pennsylvania.

The overall rate of weapon carrying among adolescents in Pennsylvania in 2009 was nearly four times higher among males than females. Hispanics had the highest rate, followed closely by Blacks, then Whites.

Comparison with national data. The overall rate of weapon carrying among adolescents in Pennsylvania was lower than the national rate in 2009. As in Pennsylvania, males had a much higher rate than females. In contrast to the racial/ethnic pattern noted in Pennsylvania, Whites had the highest rate nationally, followed very closely by Hispanics, then Blacks.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health

(binge drinking, marijuana use, suicide, suicide attempts requiring medical attention)

Pennsylvania rates of binge drinking were only slightly higher among males than females in 2009. Whites and Hispanics had roughly matching rates, which were more than twice the rate for Blacks.

Comparison with national data. Similar to Pennsylvania, males and females had similar rates of binge drinking nationally. The national racial/ethnic pattern was fairly similar to the pattern in Pennsylvania, with Whites having a slightly higher rate than Hispanics, compared to matching rates in Pennsylvania.

In 2009, males and females had roughly matching rates of marijuana use in Pennsylvania. Blacks had the highest rate of marijuana use, followed by Whites and Hispanics.

Comparison with national data. Nationally, males had slightly higher rates than females, similar to the matching rates in Pennsylvania. Nationally, Whites had higher rates than Blacks, the reverse of the pattern noted in Pennsylvania. Hispanics had the lowest rates nationally, as in Pennsylvania.

The rate of suicide among older adolescents in Pennsylvania decreased slightly from baseline; a larger decrease occurred among older adolescent White males. Rates for other subgroups were based on fewer than 20 deaths; because these rates are unstable, no comparisons could be made.

Comparison with national data. National suicide rates also decreased from baseline among older adolescents. The national rate for White males in that age group also decreased, to a lesser extent than in Pennsylvania. In 2007, Pennsylvania rates of suicide among older adolescents and White males in that age group were slightly lower than the national rates for those groups.

Rates of adolescent suicide attempts requiring medical attention in Pennsylvania were roughly equal among males and females. Hispanics had the highest rate, followed by Blacks and Whites, who had similar rates.

Comparison with national data. The 2009 Pennsylvania rate of suicide attempts requiring medical attention roughly matched the national rate. Females had slightly higher rates than males nationally, in contrast to roughly matching rates in Pennsylvania. Also in contrast to Pennsylvania, Blacks had the highest rate nationally, followed by Hispanics, then Whites.

 

Reproductive Health

(sexual inexperience, no current sexual activity, condom use)

Please note, for the first two objectives, the text and tables present findings about adolescents who are sexually experienced and currently sexually active, the inverse of the actual objective. For the third objective, the table presents findings for lack of condom use, the inverse of the objective. The text describes condom use. (See Data Notes & Limitations).

 

In 2009, Pennsylvania rates of adolescents having engaged in sexual intercoursewere slightly higher among females than males. Blacks had the highest rates, followed by Hispanics, and then Whites.
Comparison with national data. The 2009 Pennsylvania rate of adolescents having engaged in sexual intercourse was slightly higher than the national rate. Males and females had roughly matching rates nationally, in contrast to the slightly higher rates among males in Pennsylvania. The national racial/ethnic pattern roughly matched the pattern noted for Pennsylvania.

The rate of sexually active adolescents in Pennsylvania reporting current sexual activity was slightly higher for males than females in 2009. Blacks had the highest rates, followed by Hispanics, and then Whites.

Comparison with national data. The overall rate of current sexual activity among adolescents in Pennsylvania was slightly higher than the national rate in 2009. Females had a slightly higher rate than males nationally, the reverse of the pattern in Pennsylvania. The national racial/ethnic pattern mostly matched the pattern for Pennsylvania. However, the national rate for Hispanics was only slightly higher than the rate for Whites; this difference was much larger in Pennsylvania.

In 2009, males in Pennsylvania reported higher rates of condom use than females. Data for racial/ethnic subgroups were not available.

Comparison with national data. The overall rate of condom use in Pennsylvania in 2009 roughly matched the national rate. As in Pennsylvania, males reported higher rates than females nationally.

Chronic Disease Prevention

(tobacco use)

Tobacco use in Pennsylvania was higher among males than females in 2009. Whites had a much higher rate than Hispanics and nearly four times the rate of Blacks.

Comparison with national data. In 2009, the Pennsylvania rate of adolescent tobacco use was slightly lower than the national rate. The national gender and racial/ethnic patterns largely matched the patterns noted for Pennsylvania; however, national racial/ethnic differences were smaller than in Pennsylvania.

 Additional data may be available at: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/health_statistics_and_research/11599