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Teenage motherhood rate falls to lowest rate in decades

Published 17/11/2016

Figures show a fall in the rate of teenagers becoming mothers
Figures show a fall in the rate of teenagers becoming mothers

The rate of teenage motherhood has fallen to its lowest level in decades, according to new figures.

Around one in 14 women (7%) in England and Wales born in 1995 had children before they reached the age of 20, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The trend has been "gradually decreasing" since a peak of one in five (20%) for women born in 1952 and has returned to similar levels of adolescent births seen in the generation of women born in the early 1920s.

It comes alongside a decline in the rate of teenage pregnancies, which ONS said earlier this year had fallen to the lowest level since records began.

Meanwhile the average completed family size for women born in 1970, and reaching age 45 in 2015, was 1.91 children. This was lower than their mothers' generation, represented by women born in 1943, who had on average 2.24 children.

The ONS linked this to the trend of delaying parenthood in mothers, with those born in 1970 being the first generation with higher fertility at 30 than at 25.

And one in six (17%) women born in 1970 remained childless at the end of their childbearing years, which is higher than their mothers' generation (12%).

Two children was the most common family size for women born in 1943 and 1970.

Only one in 10 women born in 1970 had four or more children, compared with around one in seven women born in 1943.

Women born in 1985 - the most recent generation to reach age 30 - had slightly fewer children on average by their 30th birthday than women born in 1970, with 1.02 and 1.10 children respectively, the ONS added.

In February, latest ONS records from 2014 showed that out of every 1,000 teenage girls aged 15 to 17 in England and Wales there were 22.9 pregnancies. In 1969, when comparable records began, the rate stood at 47.1 conceptions for every 1,000 girls in this age group.

But those figures also showed the number of abortions had increased since the mid-90s - in 1994 the percentage of pregnancies leading to abortions stood at 19.5%, in 2014 this figure had increased to 21.1%.

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From Belfast Telegraph