About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides an annual update on teenage pregnancy statistics in Scotland which are based on age at conception and presented by year of conception. The most recent information is for the calendar year ending 31 December 2021. The delay in reporting is due to the amount of time required for a conception to result in a birth or termination and for the relevant documentation to be recorded and validated.

Main points

  • The teenage pregnancy rate in Scotland is at its lowest level since reporting began as rates fell for a fourteenth consecutive year to 23.2 per 1,000 women in 2021 (equivalent to 3,221 teenage pregnancies).
Image caption Teenage pregnancy by age group at conception, 1994-2021
  • Teenage pregnancy rates in Scotland vary by region. In 2021 NHS Highland recorded the lowest overall rate while NHS Tayside recorded the highest (16.7 and 32.2 per 1,000 women respectively).
  • In 2021 more than half (53%) of teenage pregnancies in Scotland ended in termination rather than delivery. However, there is variation in the proportions of pregnancy outcomes across NHS Boards.
  • While teenage pregnancy rates have reduced across all levels of deprivation in the last decade, they have fallen more rapidly in the most deprived areas which has narrowed the gap between the most and least deprived areas.
  • In 2021 those living in the areas of highest deprivation still had teenage pregnancy rates more than four times higher than those in the least deprived (44.3 compared to 9.9 per 1,000 women).
  • 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.


The source data are (i) registrations of live and stillbirths from the National Records of Scotland, with multiple births counted as one event, and (ii) the number of terminations from the Termination of Pregnancy Submissions Scotland system.

Many teenage women experience unintended or unwanted pregnancies, although for some 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 2024.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact Stuart Wrigglesworth at phs.maternitystats@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

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

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

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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