About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides an annual update on teenage pregnancy statistics in Scotland. This is based on age at conception and presented by year of conception and the most recent information is for the calendar year ending 31 December 2018. In the full report data are presented by NHS Board and council area for the age groups: under 16, under 18 and under 20.

Main points

For women aged under 20 years:

  • The teenage pregnancy rate in Scotland is at its lowest level since reporting began in 1994. In the last 5 years, rates fell from 34 per 1,000 women in 2014 to 30 per 1,000 women in 2018.

Teenage pregnancy by age group at conception, 1994-2018

Image caption Teenage pregnancy by age group at conception, 1994-2018
Line chart showing teenage pregnancy rates from 1994-2018 for each of the following age groups at conception: under 16, under 18 and under 20. Rates have been in decline for all age groups since 2007.
  • In 2018 NHS Highland recorded the lowest overall rate of teenage pregnancy amongst the mainland NHS Boards while NHS Fife recorded the highest (25 and 37 per 1,000 women respectively).
  • The absolute gap in teenage pregnancy rates between the most and least deprived areas is narrowing. While rates have generally reduced across all levels of deprivation in the last decade, rates in the most deprived areas have fallen more.
  • The proportion of teenage pregnancies that result in a termination is increasing. In 2018 the percentage of teenage pregnancies that ended in termination was the highest since reporting began (46%).
  • Teenage women from the most deprived areas are more likely to deliver than to terminate their pregnancy. In contrast, those from the least deprived areas are more likely to terminate than to deliver. This difference in outcome of pregnancy between the most and least deprived has not changed in recent years.


The source data are (i) registrations of live and stillbirths from the National Records of Scotland (NRS) with multiple births counted as one event, and (ii) the number of legal abortions notified to the Chief Medical Officer (Scotland) in accordance with the Abortion (Scotland) Regulations 1991.

Many teenage women experience unintended or unwanted pregnancies, although for some women this may be a planned, positive life choice. Reducing unintended teenage pregnancy remains a priority for the Scottish Government.

Further information

More information is available from the full report and data files.

The next release of this publication will be July 2021.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.maternitystats@phs.scot.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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