Drop in teenage pregnancy rate

Teenage pregnancies below the age of consent in Scotland have remained static while pregnancies in older teenagers have continued to decline, official statistics show.

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There remains a strong correlation between deprivation and teenage pregnancy, with poorer teenagers 12 times more likely to have a baby than more affluent counterparts, according to the NHS Information Services Division (ISD).

Only 725 of the 2,501 pregnancies in the poorest areas in 2012 ended in abortion, compared with 385 of the 534 pregnancies in the most affluent areas.

The rate of pregnancies among under-16s in Scotland was 5.6 per 1,000 population - the same as 2011.

The rate per 1,000 population for the under-18 age group has dropped from 30 in 2011 to 27.9, and from 43.8 to 41.5 in the under-20 age group.

In mainland NHS boards, NHS Highland recorded the lowest rate of teenage pregnancy in the under-16 age group with three per 1,000 population.

NHS Borders recorded the lowest rates in both the under-18 and under-20 age groups with rates of 20.7 and 31.2 per 1,000 respectively.

NHS Tayside recorded the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the under-16 age group among mainland NHS boards with 7.8 per 1,000 population.

NHS Fife recorded the highest rates in both the under-18 and under-20 age groups with rates of 33.7 and 48.4 per 1,000 respectively.

For the period reported (1994-2012) abortion rates for both the under-18 and under-20 age groups have remained lower than the delivery rates, although the difference between the rates has narrowed.

Abortion rates for the under-16 age group have remained higher than delivery rates since 2002.

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