Although Britain’s teenage pregnancy rate is the highest in Western Europe, in recent years there has been a slight fall. In 2006 the conception rate among 15 to 17-year-olds fell from 41.4 to 40.7 conceptions per 1,000 girls.But the percentage of conceptions leading to a legal abortion rose by 4.9 per cent for the under 16s and by 4.5 per cent for all girls under 18.The Government has pledged to halve the number of pregnancies of under-18s by the end of the decade, from a baseline figure set in 1998. But the rate has so far reduced by only 13 per cent, the statistics show.
Beverley Hughes, Minister for Children, Young People and Families, singled out local authorities yesterday where teenage pregnancy levels were “unacceptably high”. She said that she was publishing teenage pregnancy trends for every local authority, “so that everyone can see where progress has been excellent and where performance must improve”.
Places such as Torbay, Stockton-on-Tees, Norfolk and Leeds were among the problem areas, whereas Hackney and South Tyneside were the best performers. If all areas were doing as well as the top 25 per cent, “our national reduction would be more than double — and on track to meet our 2010 target”, Ms Hughes said.
In total, there were an estimated 866,800 conceptions in England and Wales in 2006, compared with 841,800 in 2005. The pregnancy rate in 2006 peaked for women aged 25-29, at 129 conceptions per 1,000 women. The ONS said that nearly four-fifths of all conceptions resulted in a birth or multiple births — 748,600 in Britain in 2006. Since 1995 pregnancies occurring outside marriage have also increased from 47 per cent to 56 per cent in 2006.
Interesting article in the Times newspaper today on conception and pregnancy statistics.