23rd May, 2017

Sexual health charity FPA is calling on all political parties to commit to reduce the UK’s teenage pregnancy rate.

The most recent teenage pregnancy statistics (below), released by the Office for National Statistics this morning, show that rates have continued to decrease. However, the UK’s teenage birth rate remains one of the highest in western Europe.

  • The number of conceptions to women in England and Wales under 18 in the first three months of 2016 was 19.9 per every thousand women aged 15 to 17 (4,749 women in total).
  • This is a reduction of 8.7% from the same period the previous year, when the rate was 21.8 per every thousand (5,251 women in total).
  • Yorkshire and the Humber saw the greatest reduction (12.5%), and the North West saw the smallest (4.2%).

Natika H Halil, Chief Executive of sexual health charity FPA, said:

“While the continued reduction of teenage pregnancy is welcome news, and testament to the hard work of health and education professionals, the UK still has one of the highest teenage birth rates in western Europe: three times the rate in Italy, and more than four times the rate in Sweden.

“There are also concerns that the improvement we’re currently seeing is a delayed response to the investment made during the 2000–2010 Teenage Pregnancy Strategy. In contrast, recent dramatic cuts to public health budgets – £800 million over six years – could be laying the groundwork for future increases in teenage pregnancy rates.

“We are calling on all political parties to support investment now, to make sure we build on the incredible work done so far, and don’t instead see teenage pregnancy rates slip even further away from other European countries.

“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. All of which can not only cause individuals to struggle, but ultimately cost the country money.

"Whichever party forms the next government must invest in both public health services and high quality relationships and sex education – anything else is a false economy.”


Editor's Notes

Quarterly conceptions to women aged under 18 in England and Wales, from January to March 2016.

Live births to women aged "Under 18" and "Under 20", (per 1,000 women aged 15 to 17 and 15 to 19) in EU28 countries, 2005, 2014 and 2015.

Teenage pregnancy