The rates of teenage pregnancy differ widely across developed countries. The United States continues to have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world—almost twice as high as those of England, Wales and Canada, and eight times as high as those of the Netherlands and Japan. Japan has the lowest rates of teenage births in the industrialized world, closely followed by Switzerland and the Netherlands. Differing rates can be attributed to knowledge and use of contraceptives among teens, sexual education, socio-economic backgrounds and ethnic origins.
The highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the world, 143 per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 years, is in sub-Saharan Africa.
England and Wales
Teen pregnancies have remained constant in England and Wales from 1990 to 2000: rates of conceptions increased from 8 to 10 per 1,000 females from 1990 to 2000.The proportion of conceptions terminated by abortion among under 20-year-olds increased slightly from 36 % in 1990 to 39 % in 2000. Over half (51 %) of all conceptions among under 16-year-olds resulted in a termination in 1990 and this increased slightly to 54 % in 2000. These are the highest rates in Europe.
The Netherlands has one of the lowest rates of teenage motherhood in the world. In 2004, 3 thousand babies were born to mothers who were younger than 20; that is, only one in 65 newborn babies had a teenage mother. Even fewer babies had a teenage father. According to Dutch Statistics, over one third of children with a young mother live in a one parent family. For children of mothers who were around thirty when they had their children this is one tenth.
Nearly half of teenage mothers in the Netherlands are non-western foreigners. The risk for a young mother to become a single parent differs strongly by ethnic origin. Antillean/Aruban girls not only have the highest risk of being a teenage mother, they also have the highest risk of being a single parent. More than seven out of every ten children of teenage mothers in this ethnic group grow up in a single parent family. In a number of African groups, too, (girls from Angola, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Cap Vert) young single mothers are a relatively common occurrence.
The situation for Turkish and Moroccan girls in the Netherlands is very different. Although teenage mothers are relatively more common than among native Dutch girls, by far most of them are married when they have their babies. Most of them marry and start a family under the age of twenty.
United States of America
In 2004, data analysis suggested that the teenage pregnancy rate fell 38%, from the all-time high in 1990 to a historic low in 2004, according to the National Center for Health Statistics and the Guttmacher Institute. The decline is due in large part to improved contraceptive use among sexually active teens. A recent analysis by the Guttmacher Institute found that 86% of the decline in teen pregnancy between 1995 and 2002 was due to more teens using contraception and using it more effectively. The proportion of high school students who reported using a condom during last sexual intercourse increased consistently between 1991 and 2003, from 46% to 63%, and remained at that level between 2003 and 2005.