According to the official figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday, the rate of teenage pregnancy in England and Wales has reduced by half in 16 years. The conception rate at under 18 has reached its lowest levels ever since the records began.
In 2014, there were 23 conceptions out of 1000 girls within the age group of 15 to 17 years compared to 55 in 1971. Thus, the target set by the Labour government in 1998, to bring down the rate of teen pregnancy to half by 2010, has been achieved in 2016.
The Office of National Statistics revealed that last year the rate of conception under 18 age group has fallen by 6.8 percent, from 24,306 in 2013 to 22,653 in 2014. The conception rate has also taken a dip for under 16 age group by 10 percent, from 4,160 in 2013 to 22,653 in 2014.
Though the new figures have been welcomed by experts, they have warned that disinvestment and complacency can revert the trends. The calls for “sex and relationships education” to be made compulsory in schools were also revived in this context, the Guardian reported.
Alison Hadley, from the University of Bedfordshire, said it was thought that teenage pregnancy was “an intractable part of English life” and the goal of reducing the rate was unattainable. But she said that it was an “extraordinary achievement” given the popular notions on the issue.
She added that proper education and easier access to contraception are indispensable to reduce the rate of teenage conception.
“Despite the big reduction, the job is not done,” the BBC quoted her as saying. “England continues to lag behind comparable western European countries, teenagers continues to be at greatest risk of unplanned pregnancy and outcomes for some young parents and their children remain disproportionately poor.”
She also noted that girls in the north east of England are more prone to get pregnant that those in the south east or south west.