(KAIT) - Though teen birth rates in Arkansas have been on the decline, The Natural State still has the highest rate in the country.
And some of the top-ranking counties are right here in Region 8.
A study recently showed Poinsett and Mississippi counties in the top ten highest teen birth rates in the state.
Family Health Branch Chief Bradley Planey said it's typical to see higher rates in more rural areas, families with a history of teen pregnancy are more likely to continue the trend, and poverty plays a role in increasing teen birth rates.
Arkansas has worked to decrease the rate by 50 percent since 1991, but the same counties with the high rates before are still at the top of the list.
"This has been the case for a number of years," Planey said. "We have a lot of success in dropping the birth rate but the rest of the country has also been improving so we're still behind the rest of the country when it comes to teen births."
Planey said the most effective tool in lowering teen birth rates is education.
Depending on location, some schools offer health classes to reach kids early.
And Planey said the department of health offers counseling and services through local health units.
Planey said the department is always looking for new ways to help lower teen birth rates in Arkansas.