Sunday, February 22, 2009

Teenage Pregnancy Rates a Concern in US & UK

A 13 year old boy in England recently became one of Britain's youngest fathers. The boy, Alfie, was just 12 when he impregnated his 14 year old girlfriend. When asked what he'd do to support his child financially, he answered "What's financially?"

The UK has a high number of teenage pregnancies with about 27 out of 1,000 births by girls aged 15-19. Britain's teen pregnancy rate, however, is still far below that of the United States, which registers 44 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19.

To put those rates in perspective, here are the rates for some other Western countries:
  • Australia: 17 per 1,000
  • Canada: 11 per 1,000
  • Spain: 10 per 1,000
  • France: 8 per 1,000
  • The Netherlands: 5 per 1,000
That means that the teenage pregnancy rate in the USA is almost 9x greater than the Netherlands, and 4x greater than Canada's.

I think it's fascinating that The Netherlands, which is one of the most sexually liberated countries on the earth (with their red light district and legalized prostitution) has such a low teen pregnancy rate. I think that when a society is open and honest about sex, people are better educated about the risks and take more precautions.

*Stats for this blog entry were taken from this CBC article.

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