Prevalence of teenage pregnancy

From WikiProjectMed
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Industrialized and developing countries have distinctly different rates of teenage pregnancy. In developed regions, such as United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, teen parents tend to be unmarried, and adolescent pregnancy is seen as a social issue.

By contrast, teenage parents in developing regions such as Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific Islands are often married, and their pregnancy may be welcomed by family and society. However, in these societies, early pregnancy may combine with malnutrition and poor health care to cause long-term medical problems for both the mother and child. A report by Save the Children found that, annually, 13 million children are born to women under age 20 worldwide. More than 90% of these births occur to women living in developing countries. Complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of mortality among women between the ages of 15 and 19 in such areas, as they are the leading cause of mortality among older women.

The age of the mother is determined by the easily verified date when the pregnancy ends, not by the estimated date of conception.[1] Consequently, the statistics do not include women who first became pregnant before their 20th birthdays, if those pregnancies did not end until on or after their 20th birthdays.[1]

Rates by continent


Adolescent fertility correlates strongly with poverty in African nations.
Adolescent birth rate in women aged 10–19 years as of 2016[2]
Adolescent birth rate per 1,000 women aged 15–19[3]
Teen pregnancy rates are higher in more unequal countries and in more unequal US states.

The highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the world—143 per 1,000 girls aged 15–19 years—is in sub-Saharan Africa.[4] Women in Africa, in general, get married at a much younger age than women elsewhere—leading to earlier pregnancies. In Nigeria, according to the Health and Demographic Survey in 1992, 47% of women aged 20–24 were married before 15, and 87% before 18. Also, 53% of those surveyed had given birth to a child before the age of 18.[5] African countries have the highest rates of teenage birth (2002)[6] According to data from World Bank, as of 2015, the highest incidence of births among 15- to 19-year-old girls was in Niger, Mali, Angola, Guinea, and Mozambique.[7] In Mozambique, in 2015, 46% of girls aged 15 to 19 years were already mothers or pregnant, an increase of 9% between results found on the National Demographic Health Survey in 2011 and National Survey on HIV, Malaria and Reproductive Health (IMASIDA) 2015. With the exception of Maputo, the country capital city, all provinces presented an increase in the percentage of early pregnancies. The rates are particularly higher in the northern provinces, namely, Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Niassa with 64.9%, 61.3% and 60%, respectively.[8][9]

A Save the Children report identified 10 countries where motherhood carried the most risks for young women and their babies. Of these, 9 were in sub-Saharan Africa, and Niger, Liberia, and Mali were the nations where girls were the most at-risk. In the 10 highest-risk nations, more than one in six teenage girls between 15 and 19 years old gave birth annually, and nearly one in seven babies born to these teenagers died before the age of one year.[10]


The rate of early marriage is higher in rural regions than it is in urbanized areas. Fertility rates in South Asia range from 71 to 119 births with a trend towards increasing age at marriage for both sexes. In South Korea and Singapore, although the occurrence of sexual intercourse before marriage has risen, rates of adolescent childbearing are low at 4 to 8 per 1000. The rate of early marriage and pregnancy has decreased sharply in Indonesia; however, it remains high in comparison to the rest of Asia.[citation needed]

Surveys from Thailand have found that a significant minority of unmarried adolescents are sexually active. Although premarital sex is considered normal behavior for males, particularly with prostitutes, it is not always regarded as such for females. Most Thai youth reported that their first sexual experience, whether within or outside of marriage, was without contraception. The adolescent fertility rate in Thailand is relatively high at 60 per 1000. 25% of women admitted to hospitals in Thailand for complications of induced abortion are students. The Thai government has undertaken measures to inform the nation's youth about the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy.

According to the World Health Organization, in several Asian countries including Bangladesh and Indonesia, a large proportion (26–37%) of deaths among female adolescents can be attributed to maternal causes.[11]


In 2015, the birth rate among teenage women in Australia was 11.9 births per 1,000 women.[12] The rate has fallen from 55.5 births per 1,000 women in 1971, probably due to ease of access to effective birth control, rather than any decrease in sexual activity.[13]


The overall trend in Europe since 1970 has been a decrease in the total fertility rate, an increase in the age at which women experience their first birth, and a decrease in the number of births among teenagers.

The rates of teenage pregnancy may vary widely within a country. For instance, in the United Kingdom, the rate of adolescent pregnancy in 2002 was as high as 100.4 per 1000 among young women living in the London Borough of Lambeth, and as low as 20.2 per 1000 among residents in the Midlands local authority area of Rutland.

Teenage birth is often associated with economic and social issues: such as alcohol and drug misuse and, across 13 nations in the European Union, women who gave birth as teenagers were twice as likely to be living in poverty, compared with those who first gave birth when they were over 20.[14]

Bulgaria and Romania

Romania and Bulgaria have some of the highest teenage birth rates in Europe. As of 2015, Bulgaria had a birth rate of 37 per 1,000 women aged 15–19, and Romania of 34.[15] Both countries also have very large Romani populations, who have an occurrence of teenage pregnancies well above the local average.[16][17][18]

In recent years, the number of teenage mothers is declining in Bulgaria.

Number of teenage mothers in Bulgaria in the period 1990–2016 [19]
Year 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015
All live births in Bulgaria 105,180 71,967 73,679 69,886 75,513 65,950
Mothers aged under twenty 22,518 16,278 12,787 10,625 8,411 6,274
Share of teenage mothers Increase 21.4% Increase22.6% Decrease 17.4% Decrease 15.2% Decrease 11.1% Decrease 9.5%


The Netherlands has a low rate of births and abortions among teenagers (5 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19 in 2002[6]). Compared with countries with higher teenage birth rates, the Dutch have a higher average age at first intercourse and increased levels of contraceptive use (including the "double Dutch" method of using both a hormonal contraception method and a condom[citation needed]).

Nordic countries

Nordic countries, such as Denmark and Sweden, also have low rates of teenage birth (both have 7 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19 in 2002[6]). However, Norway's birth rate is slightly higher (11 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19 in 2002[6]) and Iceland has a birth rate of 19 per 1,000 women aged 15–19 [6] (nearly the same as the UK). These countries have higher abortion rates than the Netherlands.[citation needed]

Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal

In some countries, such as Italy and Spain, the rate of adolescent pregnancy is low (6 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19 in 2002 in both countries).[6] These two countries also have low abortion rates (lower than Sweden and the other Nordic countries)[20] and their teenage pregnancy rates are among the lowest in Europe. However, Greece (10 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19 in 2002)[6] and Portugal (17 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19 in 2002)[6] have higher rates of teenage pregnancy.

United Kingdom

In 2018, conception rates for under 18-year-olds in England and Wales declined by 6.1% to 16.8 conceptions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 17 years.[21] Since 1999, conception rates for women aged under 18 years have decreased by 62.7%.

The Americas


The Canadian teenage birth rate in 2002 was 16 per 1000 [6] and the teenage pregnancy rate was 33.9. According to data from Statistics Canada, the Canadian teenage pregnancy rate has trended towards a steady decline for both younger (15–17) and older (18–19) teens in the period between 1992 and 2002.[22] Canada's highest teen pregnancy rates occur in small towns located in rural parts of peninsular Ontario. Alberta and Quebec have high teen pregnancy rates as well.


In 2016, the Minister of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, Alejandro Gaviria Uribe announced that "teenage pregnancy decreased by two percentage points breaking the growing tendency that had been seen since the nineties".[23]

United States

In 2013, the teenage birth rate in the United States reached a historic low: 26.6 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19.[24] More than three-quarters of these births are to adult women aged 18 or 19.[24] In 2005 in the U.S., the majority (57%) of teen pregnancies resulted in a live birth, 27% ended in an induced abortion, and 16% in a fetal loss.[25]

The U.S. teen birth rate was 53 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19 in 2002,[6] the highest in the developed world.[14] If all pregnancies, including those that end in abortion or miscarriage, are taken into account, the total rate in 2000 was 75.4 pregnancies per 1,000 girls. Nevada and the District of Columbia have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the U.S., while North Dakota has the lowest.[26] Over 80% of teenage pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended;[27] approximately one third end in abortion, one third end in spontaneous miscarriage, and one third will continue their pregnancy and keep their baby.[28]

However, the trend is decreasing: in 1990, the birth rate was 61.8, and the pregnancy rate 116.9 per thousand. This decline has manifested across all races, although teenagers of African-American and Latino descent retain a higher rate, in comparison to that of European-Americans and Asian-Americans. The Guttmacher Institute attributed about 25% of the decline to abstinence and 75% to the effective use of contraceptives.[26]

Within the United States teen pregnancy is often brought up in political discourse. The goal to limit teen pregnancy is shared by Republicans and Democrats, though avenues of reduction are usually different. Many Democrats cite teen pregnancy as proof of the continuing need for access to birth control and sexual education, while Republicans often cite a need for returning to conservative values, often including abstinence.

An inverse correlation has been noted between teen pregnancy rates and the quality of education in a state. A positive correlation, albeit weak, appears between a city's teen pregnancy rate and its average summer night temperature, especially in the Southern U.S. (Savageau, compiler, 1993–1995).


World Development Indicator

The birth rate for women aged 15–19 is one of the World Bank's World Development Indicators. The data for most countries and a variety of groupings (e.g. Sub-Saharan Africa or OECD members) are published regularly, and can be viewed or downloaded from a United Nations website.[29]

UN Statistics Division, live birth 2009

Per 1,000 women 15–19 years old:[30]

UN Statistics Division, estimates 1995-2010

Per 1,000 women 15–19 years old, source:[31]

Birth and abortion rates, 1996

Per 1000 women 15–19 (% aborted = % of teenage pregnancies ending in abortion), source:[20][32][33][34][35]

Country birth rate abortion rate combined rate % aborted
Netherlands 7.7 3.9 11.6 33.6
Spain 7.5 4.9 12.4 39.5
Italy 6.9 6.7 13.3 50.4
Greece 12.2 1.3 13.5 9.6
Belgium 9.9 5.2 15.1 34.4
Germany 13.0 5.3 18.3 28.9
Finland 9.8 9.6 19.4 49.5
Ireland 16.7 4.6 21.3 21.6
France 9.4 13.2 22.6 58.4
Denmark 8.2 15.4 23.6 65.3
Sweden 7.7 17.7 25.4 69.7
Norway 13.6 18.3 31.9 57.4
Czech Republic 20.1 12.4 32.5 38.2
Iceland 21.5 20.6 42.1 48.9
Slovakia 30.5 13.1 43.6 30
Australia 20.1 23.9 44 54.3
Canada 22.3 22.1 44.4 49.8
Israel 32.0 14.3 46.3 30.9
United Kingdom 29.6 21.3 50.9 41.8
New Zealand 33.4 22.5 55.9 40.3
Hungary 29.9 30.2 60.1 50.2
Romania 40.0 37.9 77.9 48.7
United States 55.6 30.2 85.8 35.2

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kost K, Henshaw S, Carlin L (2010). "U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-03-28. Retrieved 2022-06-13. Pregnancies are the sum of births, abortions and miscarriages. Please note that in these tables, “age” refers to the woman’s age when the pregnancy ended. Consequently, actual numbers of pregnancies that occurred among teenagers are higher than those reported here, because most of the women who conceived at age 19 had their births or abortions after they turned 20 and, thus, were not counted as teenagers. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. "Adolescent birth rate in women aged 10-19 years". Our World in Data. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  3. "Adolescent birth rate per 1,000 women aged 15-19". Our World in Data. Retrieved 15 February 2020.
  4. Treffers P.E. (2003). "Teenage pregnancy, a worldwide problem". Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde. 147 (47): 2320–5. PMID 14669537.
  5. Locoh, Therese. (2000). "Early Marriage And Motherhood In Sub-Saharan Africa Archived 2016-01-02 at the Wayback Machine." WIN News. Retrieved July 7, 2006.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 Indicator: Births per 1000 women (15-19 ys) – 2002 Archived 2011-05-29 at the Wayback Machine UNFPA, State of World Population 2003, Retrieved Jan 22, 2007.
  7. "Adolescent fertility rate (births per 1,000 women ages 15-19) - Data". Archived from the original on 2021-03-08. Retrieved 2022-06-13.
  8. Instituto Nacional de Estatística Ministério da Saúde Maputo, Moçambique (2013). Ministerio da Saude (MISAU), Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE) e ICF International (ICFI). Moçambique Inquérito Demográfico e de Saúde 2011. Calverton, Maryland, USA: MISAU, INE e ICFI (in Portuguese).{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  9. Ministério da Saúde (MISAU), Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE), ICF Internacional, 2015. Inquérito de Indicadores de Imunização, Malária e HIV/SIDA em Moçambique 2015. Maputo, Moçambique. Rockville, Maryland, EUA: INS, INE e ICF International (in Portuguese). 2015. {{cite book}}: |first= missing |last= (help)CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  10. "Pregnancy and childbirth are leading causes of death in teenage girls in developing countries". Archived from the original on 2006-06-18. Retrieved 2022-06-13.
  11. Mehta, Suman, Groenen, Riet, & Roque, Francisco. United Nations Social and Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific. (1998). Adolescents in Changing Times: Issues and Perspectives for Adolescent Reproductive Health in The ESCAP Region Archived 2012-02-11 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved July 7, 2006.
  12. Statistics, c=AU; o=Commonwealth of Australia; ou=Australian Bureau of (13 December 2017). "Media Release - September most common month for babies born in Australia (Media Release)". Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  13. "Teenage pregnancy - Better Health Channel". Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  14. 14.0 14.1 UNICEF. (2001). "A League Table of Teenage Births in Rich Nations" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-06-29. (888 KiB). Retrieved July 7, 2006.
  15. "Adolescent fertility rate (births per 1,000 women ages 15-19) - Data". Archived from the original on 2019-03-30. Retrieved 2022-06-13.
  16. [1][permanent dead link]
  17. "Silence Makes Babies - Transitions Online". 6 July 2010. Archived from the original on 14 May 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  18. The Politics of Gender: A Survey By Yoke-Lian Lee
  19. "Live births by districts, municipalities and mother's age". Archived from the original on 2021-02-27. Retrieved 2022-06-13.
  20. 20.0 20.1 UNICEF (July 2001). "A league table of teenage births in rich nations" (PDF). Innocenti Report Card No.3. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-07-02. Retrieved 2022-06-13. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  21. office of national statistics 2018
  22. Dryburgh, H. (2002). Teenage pregnancy. Health Reports, 12 (1), 9-18; Statistics Canada . (2005). Health Indicators, 2005, 2. Retrieved from Facts and Statistics: Sexual Health and Canadian Youth - Teen Pregnancy Rates Archived 2010-11-28 at the Wayback Machine
  23. "Disminuye número de embarazos adolescentes en Colombia - ELESPECTADOR.COM". 7 September 2016. Archived from the original on 1 March 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Trends in Teen Pregnancy and Childbearing". Department of Health and Human Services. August 15, 2014. Archived from the original on December 3, 2021. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  25. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011) Health Disparities and Inequality Report -- United States, MMWR, Jan 14, 2011 volume 60. Archived 2018-11-13 at the Wayback Machine
  26. 26.0 26.1 Wind, Rebecca. The Guttmacher Institute. (February 19, 2004). "U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Rate Drops For 10th Straight Year Archived 2006-06-16 at the Wayback Machine." Retrieved July 7, 2006.
  27. J. Joseph Speidel; Cynthia C. Harper; Wayne C. Shields (September 2008). "The Potential of Long-acting Reversible Contraception to Decrease Unintended Pregnancy". Contraception. 78 (3): 197–200. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2008.06.001. PMID 18692608. Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
  28. Strasburger, Victor C. (2007) Teen Pregnancy Rates in the USA Archived 2008-07-30 at the Wayback Machine Cool Nurse, MD University of New Mexico School of Medicine.
  29. "Adolescent fertility rate (births per 1,000 women ages 15-19)". United Nations Data Retrieval System. United Nations. Archived from the original on 15 September 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  30. Live births by age of mother and sex of child, general and age-specific fertility rates: latest available year, 2000-2009 Archived 2019-08-02 at the Wayback Machine — United Nations Statistics Division - Demographic and Social Statistics
  31. "World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations". Archived from the original on 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2022-06-13.
  32. Sikron F, Wilf-Miron R, Israeli A, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health; Wilf-Miron, R; Israeli, A (Feb 2003). "Adolescent pregnancy in Israel". Harefuah. 142 (2): 131–6, 158, 157. PMID 12653047.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  33. Stanley K. Henshaw, Susheela Singh and Taylor Haas, The Guttmacher Institute (Jan 1999). "The Incidence of Abortion Worldwide". Archived from the original on 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2022-06-13.
  34. "Statistical Yearbook 2008" (PDF). National Institute of Statistics. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-06-19. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
  35. Table 4.1, data from 1996 Archived 2012-03-29 at the Wayback Machine, Irish Crisis Pregnancy Agency, Published 2006