Fewer teenage mothers with a foreign background

05/09/2006 14:00

In 2005 2,795 children were born to mothers aged under 20 years. In 2004 the number of babies born to teenage mothers was 3,004. The number of teenage mothers was relatively highest among girls with a non-western foreign background.

Teenage births by mother’s age

Decrease in teenage births continues

The decrease in the number of teenage births in the Netherlands has been fairly erratic since the beginning of the 1970s. The lowest number of teenage first-time mothers  (2,511) was recorded in 1996. The number subsequently rose until 2001, and then started to decrease again. In 2005, the number of teenage births fell by 7 percent; a sharper decrease than that for the total number of births (3 percent).
The fall observed since 2001 was triggered by a renewed interest in preventing teenage pregnancy. The prevention campaign had most effect on the birth rates of the very youngest mothers. The number of first-time mothers aged under 17 years, for example, has fallen by 39 percent since 2001, compared with a 13 percent fall for mothers aged under 19 years. In spite of this decrease, there are still relatively many teenage mothers among girls with a non-western foreign background.

Births per 1,000 girls aged 15–19 years, by ethnic origin

Fewer teenage mothers with a foreign background

By far most of the decrease since 2001 is accounted for by non-western foreign mothers. In 2005, the number of native Dutch first-time teenage mothers was just as large as in 2001, at 1,484. The number of teenage mothers with a non-western foreign background on the other hand had fallen substantially: from 1,736 (2001) to 1,059 (2005). The decrease was relatively modest among girls with an Antillean/Aruban background.

Births per 1,000 girls aged 15–19 years, by generation

Low fertility for second generation Turks and  Moroccans

The birth rate for first generation non-western teenagers is much higher than for the second generation, although  the rate for the first generation is also decreasing. In 2001, for example, 60 per thousand 15–19 year-old first generation Turkish women had a baby, compared with 36 per thousand in 2005. As the non-western first generation in this age group was smaller in 2005 than in 2004, the decrease in the birth rate among the first generation had a relatively strong effect on the number of first-time teenage mothers. This was particularly true for the Turkish and Moroccan first generations, which were 13 and 15 percent smaller respectively than in 2004. The birth rates of young Turkish and Moroccan women in the second generation hardly differ from those of the native Dutch population. Their teenage birth rates have nearly halved since 2001. 

Single teenage mothers

Young Antillean and Surinamese women still have the highest birth rates. In most cases by far they are unmarried mothers. Only 4 percent of children of Antillean and Surinamese teenage mothers are born to married girls. For native Dutch girls this is 15 percent. More than two-thirds of Turkish and Moroccan teenage mothers are married when they have their baby.

Joop Garssen