Teenage birth rate dwindling further

In 2004 girls under the age of 20 gave birth to 3, 004 children. The corresponding figure for 2003 was 3, 311. Thus the downward trend, which started in 2002, continues. The reduction in teenage births in 2004 by more than 9 percent was more sizeable than the decline in the overall birth rate by 3 percent.

Upward trend reversed

In the late 1960s and early 1970s approximately 12 thousand babies were born to young girls under 20. Since then the teenage birth rate has fallen dramatically. The decrease was not evenly spread over the years. In the latter half of the 1990s, for example, there was a temporary, but noticeable increase in teenage pregnancies. The trend was reversed when prevention of teenage pregnancies got renewed attention.

Number of teenage births by age of the mother

Strongest decline among very young girls

Preventative measures prove to be most effective in very young girls. The birth rate among 19-year-old girls was reduced by 7 percent, among 17 and 18-year-olds by 10 percent and among 15 and 16-year-olds by 17 percent.

Gap between foreign and native Dutch girls diminishing

The probability of teenage motherhood among foreign girls has declined since 2001. The decline among native Dutch girls started one year later. In 2001 the probability of teenage motherhood was more than 6 times as high for non-western foreign girls as for native Dutch teenagers, as against 4.5 times in 2004.

Teenage births by ethnic background

Still considerable differences between the first and second generation

There are striking differences between the various generations of non-western girls. The probability of becoming a mother before the age of 20 is almost 8 times as high for first-generation Turkish women as for their second-generation counterparts. The probability of teenage motherhood is only marginally higher for second-generation Turkish and Moroccan girls than for native Dutch girls. This is also true for girls in the category ‘other non-western’, whose parents were born in, for instance, Afghanistan, Iraq, China and Iran.

Teenage births by ethnic background and generation, 2004

Turkish and Moroccan teen mothers are usually married

The majority of Turkish and Moroccan teenage mothers are 19 years old and married at the moment they give birth to their first child. The decrease in this group is mostly the result of delayed family formation. This does not apply to Surinamese and Antillean girls. First-generation Antillean girls run the greatest risk of becoming teenage mothers. Most of them are single. The birth rate among second-generation Surinamese girls is significantly lower than among first-generation girls.

Joop Garssen