A study compiled by the Centers of Disease Control and the University of Texas and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston estimates that almost one in 10 Texas sixth-graders have had sex.
The percentage of Texas seventh- and eighth-graders who have had sex is 22 and 29 respectively.
In high school, the percentage starts at 32 in ninth grade when the students are 14 or 15 years old, and goes up by roughly 10 per cent each year. By their last year in high school, 62 per cent of Texas teenagers have had sex.
A concern highlighted by the study is the lack of sexual education provided throughout Texas. The study tells that along with being more likely to have had sex with four or more partners, Texan middle school and high school children are less likely to have used any form of birth control than their national counterparts. The authors of the study also note that many school districts in Texas are using textbooks that omit medically accurate information on condoms and contraception.
It is not just the lack of good sex education that is putting Texas young people at a disadvantage; restrictive state policies regarding access to contraception and other reproductive health services are also to blame.
Texas has the third highest teen birth rate in the United States with 63.1 births per 1,000 female ages 15 to 19 compared to the national rate of 41.5 per 1,000. The state's teen pregnancy rate is fifth in the United States, with a rate of 88 pregnancies per 1,000 young women ages 15 to 19 compared to the national rate of 70 pregnancies per 1,000.