Sunday, January 31, 2010

Number of Abortions State by State

Abortions in the United States by raw numbers and per 1,000 live births. Click to enlarge

Good, a "collaboration of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits pushing the world forward," has a detailed chart depicting abortions in the United States both by raw numbers and per 1,000 live births. A color code is added showing which states voted for Obama, in blue, and for McCain, red.

Some of the numbers are shocking. While California leads the country in raw number of abortions, New York edges out with number abortions per live births. In New York five-hundred conceived babies are aborted for every 1,000 successfully deliveries. Factor in miscarriages then it is revealed that over one-in-three New York babies do not make it out of the womb alive.

Based on statistical odds, the best place for a conceived baby is Wyoming followed up by Indiana and South Dakota.

There does seem to be somewhat of a divide between red Republican states and blue Democrat states. One exception is Texas (and to a certain extent Georgia). More data is needed though because I suspect racial demographics are a key factor here.


exuberance said...

"racial" - eye's roll.

Isn't it simpler to just look to the supply side? The states with thick regulatory thickets and social norms that make it difficult to exercise the option have lower rates of exercising the option. I suspect the intensity of anti-abortion activity would be highly correlated to these numbers.

Catholicgauze said...

Sadly racial factors do play a role in abortion rates. Looking abortion rates at a state-level and making broad judgments like "a Missourian is less likely to abort a baby than a New Yorker" is flawed. Going into statistical data, a poor Black Missourian is more likely to abort a baby than a middle class, evangelical White New Yorker.

Adrian said...

If Jane is from West Virginia but goes to Virginia to have an abortion, which state does it count against? That issue might skew the stats against states with big medical centers that draw from neighboring states (like Boston draws from Maine, NH, Vermont, etc.).

Dan tdaxp said...

Very interesting post. GNXP has been doing similar analysis.

I wonder if New York's numbers are increased by a large Eastern European community? Just speculation.

torgo jr. said...


I see where you're going w/ your comment. But the specific example of WV/VA is not really appropriate. Any West Virginian will tell you that children are still, to an extent, viewed as currency here; the more children you have, the larger the monthly "government money check" will be. Simple mountain economics, really.

exuberance said...

Catholicgauze - I wouldn't deny that there are many useful predictors in demographics and culture that can be used to predict both demand for and actual abortions. My point was that you went first and only for race. But, you knew that. So I take it you think it's the dominate term.

Catholicgauze said...

Don't get ahead of yourself, you're likely to lose yourself. I never said race was the only factor. I said I suspect it was a "key factor." Culture is another huge factor (heck, I'm one of the last geographers not afraid to say I am a member of the "Berkley School" of geography).
As for the "My point was that you went first and only for race. But, you knew that" bit. No I did not. Remember what happens when a person assumes...

Catholicgauze said...

(Part 2)
The raw stats seem to back up the point that racial use of abortions is uneven and a key factor for Georgia's high Red State numbers (but it does not seem to influence Texas).

Catholicgauze said...

Toro Jr,

There is some cross-flow, no doubt, but I suspect it would be minor.

exuberance said...


I apologize for the thinly veiled suggestion that your choice for "the key factor" was racist. I thought that veiling it would allow you to walk back from it as "the key" and you have walked back to "a key."

You suggest that I was presumptuous in thinking that you would understand that it was both offensive and illustrated a poverty of imagination. True enough. I gave you the benefit of the doubt.

So let's back up.

Do you argee that it would be better to spin a multitude of insta-theories about what possible drivers are before getting overly committed to one?

My presumptuous guess is that yes, you'd grant this

Do you agree that suggesting that racial demographics is the key factor taps into the single most polarized issue in American social history and so it likely to deaden the search for understanding while at the same time encourage ugly stereo types not to mention just be plain rude?

Your defense of the hypothesis suggests the answer to this question is no; but again I presume.

One does that in conversation and debate; modeling the other guy is part of the work.

Catholicgauze said...


When I write “suspect” I am giving my thoughts; not a thoroughly researched judgment as evidence in my language used. According to the hyperlink in my reply, race is a factor in making Georgia’s abortion rates so high (but in Texas it’s not). I would welcome any sources that could refute correlation. This is not rude, nor is it polarizing as it is a statement of fact. Of course race is not the only factor, only a fool/bigot would say that, but it is a major factor in some cases.

Racial issues in the United States are definitely controversial; racial sensitivity is important. However, to solve problems we must not run away from the issues and meaningful variables.

exuberance said...

Well, enough. I don't recall suggesting at any point running away from any variable and my hope you'd look to some other variables seems to have been, well, run from. I'll now excuse myself. Sigh.

Catholicgauze said...

Already in my replies I have mentioned economics and religion as two other factors. There are also family values, geographic access, and other variables that play a huge role in abortion.

"I don't recall suggesting at any point running away from any variable" No, you just did an eye roll and played the racist card.

I do appreciate opposing viewpoints and viewpoints that challenge me. Rude attitudes do not advance any debate.