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 2019. In the full report data are presented by NHS Board and council area of residence 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. The rate fell from 30 per 1,000 women in 2018 to 28 per 1,000 in 2019.
Image caption Teenage Pregnancy by age group at conception, 1994 to 2019
Line chart showing teenage pregnancy rates from 1994-2019 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.
  • The trend of decreasing rates in the under 20 age group in Scotland continued for the twelfth consecutive year in 2019, with a decrease of over 50% observed since 2007.
  • Teenage pregnancy rates vary by region across Scotland. In 2019 NHS Borders recorded the lowest overall rate amongst the mainland NHS Boards while NHS Fife recorded the highest (22 and 35 per 1,000 women respectively).
  • The proportion of teenage pregnancies that result in termination rather than delivery has increased gradually over time and is now the more common of the two outcomes at 50.3%.
  • The absolute gap in teenage pregnancy rates between the most and least deprived areas is continuing to narrow. While rates have generally reduced across all levels of deprivation in the last decade, rates in the most deprived areas have fallen more rapidly.
  • In 2019 the teenage pregnancy rate in Scotland was 28 per 1,000 women. However, rates varied depending on where women lived. Those living in the areas of highest deprivation had pregnancy rates more than four times higher than those in the least deprived areas (52.6 compared to 11.8 per 1,000).
  • 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.

Background

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

The next release of this publication will be July 2022.

General enquiries

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

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

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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: 15 July 2021
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