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Large increase in under-16s having children, but decline in overall teenage birthrate

The teenage birthrate has decreased by 60% since 2001.

Image: Shutterstock/Thanatip S.

LAST YEAR SAW a marked increase in the number of under-15s giving birth – although there was an overall decrease in the teenage birthrate.

In 2015, a total of 42 girls under the age of 15 gave birth, with 40 of these giving birth to their first child, and two girls having their second child.

This was an increase on the number of births by girls aged 15 and under in 2014 and 2013, when the number was 23 girls and 27 girls respectively.

This means that there has been an 82% year-on-year increase in under-16 births in the 12 months between 2014 and 2015.

However, this figure is not indicative of the overall trend in teenage pregnancies, which has been steadily decreasing over the past 10 years.

Overall teenage pregnancies 

Last year there were a total of 1,187 births by females aged 19 and under, which works out at 8.7 per 1,000 in that age category giving birth.

Since 2001, this number has steadily been coming down, with decreases in each year. 

Back in 2001, there was a total of 3,087 girls aged under-20 who gave birth in Ireland – a figure which worked out at 19.6 per 1,000 girls aged under-20 in the country.

Overall there has been a 60% decrease since 2001, a statistic that has been welcomed by the HSE.

In a statement yesterday, education officer with the organisation’s Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme Orla McGowan pointed to further education programmes in schools as having an impact on the figures.

“Parents and guardians also have a huge influence on their teenagers,” she said.

And while some teenagers might try and shut down a conversation about relationships and sex, it is important they know the facts before they decide to have sex for the first time.

Read: 36 girls under 15 gave birth in 2011, but teenage birth rate is dropping

Also: Scholarships for virgins: ‘Abstaining from sex will change my future’

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