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Teenage Birthrate Almost Ten-Fold in Poorest Areas

Media Release
Teenage Birthrate Almost Ten-Fold in Poorest Areas
Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Released today by the Paediatric Society of New Zealand, "Monitoring the Health of New Zealand Children and Young People " reveals teenage birth rates that vary enormously across geographic and economic regions.

"These statistics confirm a strong correlation between low income and teenage births, "said Lindsay Mitchell, welfare commentator . "The birth rate in the most deprived areas (decile 10) is 60.49 per 1,000 15-19 year-olds. This drops to 6.56 in decile 1 areas. This confirms that it is those girls who are least able to financially afford to raise children who are having them. Hence so many end up on welfare."

"The teenage birthrate also varies geographically from a low of 13.5 in Otago to a high of 59.4 in Gisborne, which is also home to the highest number of children living in one parent homes."

"Maori have the highest teenage birthrate at 77.64 compared to 16.43 for Europeans. Earlier Ministry of Social Development data shows that Maori are 8 times more likely to be a teenage parent on welfare."

"As the report notes, 'High teenage pregnancy rates are a cause for concern as young maternal age has been associated with a number of adverse birth outcomes ... and impact on the educational attainment, not only of the young women themselves but also the aspirations and opportunities available to their children.' "

"The government must now face facts and examine how paying girls to have babies is influencing this unacceptable situation. Employing eight people to work with teenage parents, when over 4,000 give birth each year, is not an answer."


ENDS

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