Teenage pregnancies – perception versus reality

Research has found that the British public often have misconceptions about teenage pregnancies.

How far are your perceptions from the truth?

Here we challenge you to test your understanding of the facts about teenage pregnancy in England and Wales.

Teenage pregnancies since 1969

Now let’s take a look at the teenage pregnancy rate over time.

You might think that teenage pregnancies are a more recent phenomenon but this chart shows that they are not: in fact rates for both under 16s and under 18s have been falling since 2007.

Percentage of girls under 16 and under 18 becoming pregnant, England and Wales, 1969 to 20141

Download the data

The fall in teenage pregnancies in recent years is likely to be due to:

  • initiatives by the government, for example improved sex and relationship guidance and improved access to contraception and sexual health services
  • more young women in higher education
  • negative attitudes towards teenage mothers in society

Governments in both England and Wales are committed to reducing the teenage pregnancy rate further, although they have now moved away from setting specific targets.

The last target, set by the government in England in 1999, was to halve the 1998 under 18 teenage pregnancy rate for England by 2010. Rates fell substantially during this period and this target was reached in 2014.

Teenage pregnancies in your area

09/03/16 11.00am – Some areas were showing the incorrect data for 2014. This was noticed shortly after publication and has now been rectified.

Use this interactive map to test your perceptions of under 18 pregnancies where you live.

Note: The under 16 teenage pregnancy rates by area can be found in table 5 of these datasets.

To embed these interactive graphics in your site use the following code:

<iframe width="100%" height="650px" src="https://www.ons.gov.uk/visualisations/nesscontent/dvc311/quiz/index.html" scrolling="no" frameborder="0"/>


<iframe width="100%" height="650px" src="https://www.ons.gov.uk/visualisations/nesscontent/dvc311/map/map.html" scrolling="no" frameborder="0"/>

For more information, please contact: vsob@ons.gsi.gov.uk