6th April, 2016

The UK continues to have the highest teenage birth rates in Western Europe, figures published by the Office for National Statistics reveal.

Data for birth rates across the 28 countries of the European Union in 2014 show the UK had lower rates than just Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Latvia.

The rate for the UK in 2014 was 6.8 per 1,000 15-17-year-olds, compared to 1.1 in Denmark and 1.3 in the Netherlands.

Sexual health charity FPA’s Head of Programmes Paul Casey said the figures are a stark reminder of how much work still needs to be done.

“We have a record low level of teenage pregnancies but still lag behind most countries in Europe,” he said.

“Of course not all teenage pregnancies are unplanned or unwanted but teenagers who become parents are more likely to have poorer health, education, social and economic outcomes.

“International evidence shows the many benefits of sex and relationships education (SRE), including in reducing unplanned pregnancies.

“There is overwhelming support from young people, parents and teachers in the UK for the Government to introduce statutory SRE, but so far these calls have been ignored.

“As well as high-quality education, it is vital young people can access sexual and reproductive health information and support services. At a time when local authorities have to work with shrinking public health budgets, we must ensure this remains a priority.”

How the UK compares to the rest of the European Union

Live births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 17 in EU28 countries, 2014

  • Bulgaria 35.5
  • Romania 29.2
  • Slovakia 15.9
  • Hungary 15.4
  • Latvia 8.9
  • United Kingdom 6.8
  • Estonia 6.7
  • Malta 6.5
  • Greece 6.4
  • Lithuania 6.1
  • EU28 average 6.0
  • Poland 5.5
  • Czech Republic 5.3
  • Portugal 5.3
  • Spain 4.6
  • France 4.4
  • Croatia 4.3
  • Germany 3.6
  • Ireland 3.2
  • Austria 3.1
  • Belgium 3.0
  • Italy 2.4
  • Luxembourg 2.4
  • Cyprus 2.2
  • Slovenia 2.0
  • Finland 1.8
  • Sweden 1.5
  • Netherlands 1.3
  • Denmark 1.1

Source:Office for National Statistics, including Eurostat data


Teenage pregnancy