21 Feb 2023

Teen births, abortions keep declining

3:45 pm on 21 February 2023
A home pregnancy test showing a positive result.

A home pregnancy test showing a positive result. Photo: 123rf.com

The proportion of teenage girls in New Zealand giving birth has halved in the last 10 years.

New data from Statistics NZ shows there were 1719 teenage births in 2022, compared to 3786 in 2012.

Just one in every 34 births in 2022 was to someone under 20, compared to one in 16 in 2012. Fifty years ago, teenagers accounted for one in seven births.

The number of births per 1000 teenagers has dropped from 25 in 2012 to 11 in 2022, well down from 69 in 1972.

Meanwhile, the number of women giving birth in their late 30s has steadily increased.

"The decreasing number of teenage births coincides with improved education and access to contraception," statistician Michael MacAskill said.

There were 12 births to mothers under 15, down from 15 the year before and 51 in 2007.

The number of teen births has been plummeting for years. In 2019, statistics showed it had halved since 10 years before that.

MacAskill said the number of teenage abortions has also decreased.

There were 58,887 live births in New Zealand in 2022. But with deaths sharply rising - up more than 10 percent on 2021, as Covid-19 swept over the country - the natural increase in population (births minus deaths) was just over 20,000, the lowest in decades.

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