Teen pregnancy rates in Kirklees fall to lowest levels since records began

Teenage pregnancy rates in Kirklees are on the decline.
Teenage pregnancy rates in Kirklees are on the decline.

The teenage pregnancy rate in Kirklees has fallen to its lowest level since 2011, figures reveal.

New Office for National Statistics data shows only 16 in 100,000 women aged 15 to 17 got pregnant in the three months to March 2018, the latest period for which data is available.

That's the lowest level for the same three-month period since current records began in 2011.

This reflects the picture across England, where the teenage pregnancy rate fell to 17 in 100,000 during the three months to March - also the lowest level since 2011.

A spokesperson for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service said a dramatic drop in teen pregnancies over the last two decades was in part due to government strategies such as improved sex education and access to contraception.

“Our research also indicates that shifts in young people’s attitudes and lifestyles have played a significant role,” they added.

“Increased use of social media among young people and more focus on their family life and future careers, as well as a decline in alcohol consumption, have all contributed to the fall in teen pregnancy rates.”

There were 31 pregnancies in Kirklees in the first three months of 2018, compared to 61 in 2011 – a fall of 49 per cent.

Across England, the number of pregnancies fell by around 50 per cent over the same period, from 7,373 to 3,678.

The BPAS spokesperson also said that, despite the historical decline, cuts to local health budgets were forcing councils to scrap contraceptive services, potentially fuelling regional disparities.

They added: “We know that public health budgets have faced deep cuts in recent years, with over a third of local authorities reducing, or planning to reduce, their contraceptive services since 2015.

“It is really important that services are maintained so that regional variations, which will be due to complex factors, do not become more pronounced.”