23.11.2013

Statistics on teenage pregnancy in canada

Teenage motherhood has generally been associated with long–term socioeconomic consequences for women, but it does not always limit them to a life of low income.
In 2005, there were 30,534 teen pregnancies in Canada, almost half of which resulted in live births. By ages 30 to 39, both teenage and adult mothers with similar education levels have almost the same probability of living in low-income situations.
The social stigma that once attended out-of-wedlock pregnancy may have diminished; however, the risks of serious health consequences remain for babies born to mothers still in their teens.
This article focusses on recent trends in pregnancy rates and outcomes (live birth, induced abortion or fetal loss) for 15- to 19-year-olds (see Methods and Definitions). In 1997, an estimated 42,162 pregnancies of women aged 15 to 19 ended in birth, abortion or miscarriage.
At the same time, the teenage pregnancy rate dropped, and by 1997, it stood at 42.7 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19. Teenage pregnancy rates tend to be higher in the North and the Prairie provinces than in other regions (Chart 2). The percentage of teenage pregnancies ending in an abortion is strongly weighted by trends among 18- to 19-year-olds, who account for the majority of teenage pregnancies (64% in 1997). Although the teenage pregnancy rate decreased, the abortion rate per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 was stable between 1994 and 1997. The abortion rate was much higher for older teens, even though pregnant 15- to 17-year-olds were more likely than pregnant 18- to 19-year-olds to have an abortion. In provinces with access to both hospital and clinic abortions, teenagers are more likely to use hospitals (Table 1).


Fewer teenagers are becoming pregnant, and as noted above, fewer of those who do are giving birth. Teenage birth rates were relatively high in the Prairie provinces and the territories, and low in Québec, Ontario and British Columbia (Appendix Table B).
Since 1974, it has been estimated that fewer than 10% of teenage pregnancies have ended in fetal loss (miscarriage or stillbirth; see Definitions). Teenage pregnancy rates tend to be high in the North and the Prairie provinces and low in the Atlantic region.
The number of pregnancies had declined steadily since 1994, when the estimated total was 46,753 (Appendix Table A) (see Sexual activity and contraceptive use).
The decrease in the teenage pregnancy rate in Canada began several years later than that in the United States3,12 (Chart 1).
In 1997, the rate in the Northwest Territories was 123.3 pregnancies per 1,000 and over 60 per 1,000 in the Yukon and in Manitoba. However, in 1997, with the decline in live births to teens, abortion became the most common outcome of teenage pregnancy (Chart 3). By contrast, in the other provinces and territories, most teenage pregnancies ended in a live birth (Chart 4) (see Access to abortion). Therefore, with fewer teenagers giving birth or experiencing fetal loss during this period, a greater proportion of all teenage pregnancies ended in abortion (Chart 5).
The higher abortion rate at ages 18 to 19 reflects the higher number of pregnancies among older teens. In 1997, 40% of teenagers who had clinic abortions were less than 9 weeks pregnant, whereas this was the case for 25% of those who had hospital abortions (Table 2).


In 1997, live births to teenagers numbered 19,724, and the birth rate for 15- to 19-year-olds reached an all-time low of 20 births per 1,000 (Chart 6). However, in every province and territory, except Québec, Ontario and British Columbia, the majority of teenage pregnancies end in a live birth rather than an abortion. Nevertheless, the US rate remains about double the Canadian rate13 (see International comparisons).
Among girls aged 15 to 17, 54% of pregnancies ended in an abortion in 1997 (Appendix Table C).
As a result, the proportion of teen pregnancies that end in an abortion has increased, exceeding live births for the first time. Manual of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Injuries and Causes of Death. Also, compared with those who went to a hospital, a higher proportion of teenagers who had a clinic abortion had had at least one previous induced abortion: 24% versus 18%. Regardless of whether they went to a clinic or hospital, the vast majority (96%) of Ontario and Alberta teenagers who had an abortion in 1997 were single; fewer than 3% were living common-law, and just 1% were married.



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