Teen Pregnancy Rates Around the World
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Teen Pregnancy Rates Around the World

Teen Pregnancy Rates around the World.

Teen pregnancy has always been a problem, but recent years show that even with more sex education, teen pregnancy is on the rise.

In Sweden, there are 7 births to teenage mothers for every 1,000 births. Comprehensive Sexuality Education has been in effect in Sweden since 1956 and by age 14, students are coming home with condoms. Sweden schools also have health clinics so students can get birth control and tested for sexually transmitted diseases. 12% of teenagers in Sweden do not use birth control each and every time. 43% of those that are sexually active report having more than two partners in the past 12 months.

There are 9 teenage mothers per every 1,000 births in France. In 1973, the country implemented sex education to all schools. Students receive 30 to 40 hours of sex education and starting in 8th grade, teachers pass out condoms to the students. In January 2000, the French government launched a media awareness campaign and passed out over 5 million brochures on sex education to high school students. 7% of French students use protection or birth control each and every time they have sex and 13% of students have had more than 2 partners in the past 12 months.

In Canada, there is sex education, however, they are trying to upgrade to the Comprehensive Sexuality Education similar to the United States. Canadian teens have 20 babies for every 1,000 births. 9% of sexually active teenagers in Canada use birth control each and every time they have sex. 24% of teenagers admit to having more than 2 sexual partners in the past 12 months.

In Great Britian, there are 31 teenage mothers for every 1,000 births. Only 4% of sexually active teenagers in Great Britian use contraception each and every time. 30% of teenagers have had more than two sexual partners in the past 12 months. Sex education in schools has both the science-based programs and Comprehensive Sexuality Education, however, parents can opt out of the latter. Students report a lack of satisfaction from their sex education programs and Great Britian has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe.

In Germany, there are 11 teen mothers per 1,000 births. German schools teach Comprehensive Sexuality Education and parents are not permitted to opt their children out of the program. They teach "Masturbation Workshops" as well as have mandatory classes on "Body Play."

In Scotland, schools teach Abstinence Only and their teen pregnancy rate is only 8 teen mothers per 1,000 births. Even with such a low teen pregnancy rate, the Scotland government is working to lower it even further to 6 teen moms per 1,000 births by the end of this year.

There are 78 teen mothers per 1,000 births in Mexico. Several years ago, the country decided to start ordering textbooks and follow the Comprehensive Sexuality Education programs at schools. Mexico teachers also encourage students to browse internet pornography.

It has been reported by several agencies that Finland has an extremely low birth rate, however the exact numbers are not available. Finland promotes the Comprehensive Sexuality Education program at their schools.

In the Unites States, there are 49 teen mothers for every 1,000 births. 14% of American teens say they use birth control each and every time they have sex. However, 50% of sexually active teens report having more than 2 partners in the past 12 months. Sex education in America is a heated debate topic right now. Some schools have Comprehensive Sexuality Education while other preach Abstinence Only.

In summary, the United States has one the highest rate of teenage pregnancy of these countries and American teens have multiple sex partners. The high number of sex partners that some teens report is the reason for the skyrocketing statistics in teens being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD.)

It seems that Comprehensive Sexuality Education promotes lower teen births in some countries, while other countries that have extremely low birth rates adopt the Abstinence Only program. This leads for me to conclude that it is not the type of sex education one receives that is important, it is how the parents teach their kids about sex, how the media protrays sex, and the social stigma of having a baby as a teenager. For example, Japan has one of the lowest birth rates for teenagers in the world, yet their sex education in schools is strictly science-based. Either Japan has more involved parents or it could be the social devastation of having a baby while still a teenager. This type of behavior is not socially acceptable in Japan.

We can change our sex education in schools, we can become more graphic about STD's, and we can provide free birth control to teenagers. However, the teen pregnancy rates are not going to improve unless parents get involved, society starts viewing teen pregnancy as a stigma, welfare for teen mothers is denied until they graduate high school at least, and the media stops glorifying teen pregnancy as the "latest fad."

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Comments (2)

Ooo, don't think I want to read the UK's stats ! Interesting choice of article, good one.

Karen Harvey

Thank you for writing this excellent article. I agree with some of your conclusions but not all of them. I don't think that society should stigmitize teenage pregnancy. I don't want to go back to the days when a pregnant teen (and of course, only her, not the father, who could well have been the one that pushed her into having sex in the first place) would go to "stay with her aunt" when everyone knew she was pregnant and then she may or may not have dropped out of school due to embarrassment. Stigmatizing may be effective but it has lots of drawbacks. What if she is pregnant because she was raped? Should she be shunned? Of course not.

I would only add that welfare would have to be repaid if the mother does not complete high school. A new mom would definitely need the monetary support as she takes care of her baby.

You also said that some countries that teach Abstinence Only programs have low teenage pregnancy rates but I only noticed that Scotland did. So that is not an accurate statement. I wonder if adults and child have more open relationships in Europe and Japan than we do here. Many parents here don't talk about sex, but people are much more comfortable a topic in Europe in Japan. Kids learn by watching their parents. We don't them to watch us have sex, of course, so in order for them to learn from us we, as parents, must talk to them openly and honestly.