Teenage pregnancy rate falls to record low, figures show

Published: Wednesday 9th March 2016 by The News Editor

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The rate of teenage pregnancies has dipped to its lowest level since records began, official figures show.

The latest figures, from 2014, show that out of every 1,000 teenage girls aged 15 to 17 there were 22.9 pregnancies, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

In 1969, when comparable records began, the rate stood at 47.1 conceptions for every 1,000 girls in this age group.

The estimated number of conceptions in girls under 18 fell to 22,653 in 2014 compared with 24,306 in 2013 – a decrease of 6.8%.

The ONS figures for conceptions in England and Wales in 2014 also show a dip in the number of girls under the age of 16 who fall pregnant.

In 2014, it was estimated that 4,160 girls under 16 fell pregnant – a 10% decrease compared to 2013.

Overall there were 871,038 conceptions to women of all ages.

The ONS said that c onception rates in 2014 increased for women aged 25 years and over, and decreased for women aged under 25 years.

Commenting on the figures, Alison Hadley, director of the Teenage Pregnancy Knowledge Exchange, at the University of Bedfordshire, said: “This is an extraordinary achievement in addressing a complex public health and inequalities issue affecting the lives of young people and their children.

“Many people thought the goal was unattainable and that high rates were an intractable part of life. This shows that committed senior leadership, dedicated local practitioners, effective education programmes and easier access to contraception equips young people to make informed choices and brings down rates even in deprived areas.

“But despite the big reduction, the job is not done. England continues to lag behind comparable western European countries, teenagers continue to be at greatest risk of unplanned pregnancy and outcomes for some young parents and their children remain disproportionately poor.”

Natika Halil, chief executive of the s exual health charity FPA, added: “It is great that there has been a continued decrease in the teenage pregnancy rate for England and Wales.

“Not all teenage pregnancies are unplanned or unwanted, but young people who become parents under 18 have a higher risk of poorer health, education, economic and social outcomes.

“However, once again there are huge variations in pregnancy rates between different areas, ranging from 18.8 (per 1,000 women aged 15 to 17) in the South East and South West to 30.2 in the North East. For the areas which have seen continued higher rates since 2013, it is so important there is investment in and commitment to prevention services.

“In the last year we have seen the Government fail to make sex and relationships education statutory and significant cuts made to public health budgets in England. Neither is going to help bring the country’s teenage pregnancy rate more in line with other countries in Europe and both need to be given serious consideration.”

Published: Wednesday 9th March 2016 by The News Editor

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