Many Antillean and Surinamese teenage mothers

09/12/2010 15:00

In 2009, 2,636 babies were born in the Netherlands to mothers younger than 20 years. This makes the Dutch teenage birth rate one of the lowest in the world. The number of births to teenage Antillean and Surinamese girls is still high, however.

Favourable international position

Last year the teenage birth rate in the Netherlands was 5.3 per thousand 15-19 year-old girls. This figure has been quite stable for a number of years now. 

In Europe, only Switzerland has fewer teenage mothers than the Netherlands. The Dutch figure is much lower than those in east European and Anglo-Saxon countries. In the United States, the teenage birth rate is about twice as high as in the Netherlands.

Births to teenage mothers, 2008

Births to teenage mothers, 2008

Large differences between ethnic groups

In the Netherlands, the birth rate of native Dutch teenage girls has been around 4 per thousand for a long time now. The birth rate has dropped substantially among Turkish and Moroccan teenagers, to around the level of native Dutch girls. The birth rate among Surinamese and Antillean/Aruban girls remains high on the other hand.

With 29 births per thousand, Antillean/Aruban girls have the highest birth rate of the four main foreign groups in the Netherlands. Girls with a Cape Verdean background also have a relatively high birth rate (21 per thousand).

Birth rates, by ethnic origin

Birth rates, by ethnic origin

Many Caribbean teenage mothers

The noticeable decrease in the birth rate of Turkish and Moroccan girls was observed in both the first and the second generation. The birth rate of first generation Turkish girls, for example, fell from 74 to 11 per thousand in the space of ten years. In the second generation it fell from 11 to 3 per thousand. This decrease is mainly related to the increasing age at marriage. Single motherhood is very unusual among Turkish and Moroccan girls.

For girls with a Caribbean background on the other hand, the birth rate remained high for both generations, and single motherhood is quite common. First generation Antillean girls had one of the highest teenage birth rates: 39 per thousand. Only the birth rate for first generation Somali girls was significantly higher, at 49 per thousand. 

Births rates, by generation, 2009

Births rates, by generation, 2009

Joop Garssen