Why do we measure teenage pregnancy but do not count teenage mothers?

M Shaw, D Lawlor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Teenage pregnancy has been labelled as a major social and health problem and has become a key policy area in several industrialized countries. In England, current policy aims (1) to halve teenage pregnancy rates for under-18s by 2010, and (2) to reduce teenage parents’ risk of social exclusion by supporting their participation in education, training and employment. Official statistics are published on the rate of teenage pregnancy but not on the number of teenage mothers. In this paper we calculate the number of teenage mothers aged 15–17 in England in 2001 using routine data on fertility, stillbirths and mortality. We find that there were approximately 30,000 teenage mothers in England in 2001. This is a calculation which could, and should, be produced regularly by the Office for National Statistics. By only producing statistics on the rate of teenage pregnancy and not the number of teenage mothers, the first policy goal is thereby given precedence.
Translated title of the contributionWhy do we measure teenage pregnancy but do not count teenage mothers?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311 - 316
Number of pages6
JournalCritical Public Health
Volume17 (4)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Routledge

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