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Teenage pregnancy still among Europe’s highest

In 2016 there were 149 births where the mother was still a teenager. Photo: Shutterstock

In 2016 there were 149 births where the mother was still a teenager. Photo: Shutterstock

Sixteen mothers delivered their second baby before turning 20 in 2016, as Malta’s teenage pregnancy rate remained among the highest in Europe, with numbers increasing for the first time in almost a decade.

New data published by the European Union statistics office, Eurostat, shows that in 2016 there were 149 births where the mother was still a teenager.

In the previous year, the figure stood at 134.

In recent years the number of babies born to teenage mothers has been on a downward trend, with the rate spiking to 278 in 2009 before dropping by more than half to 134 by 2015 and then going up once again in the year under review.

The data also revealed that of those in their teens who gave birth in 2016, there were 16 who had given birth to a second child.

Fertility rate had dropped to the fourth lowest in Europe

Three of the teenage mothers were aged between 10 and 14 when they gave birth.

In total, there were 4,476 births throughout the year, with 2,381 mothers giving birth for the first time.

According to the figures, Malta’s teenage pregnancy rate, when compared to the total number of births, is the ninth highest, with Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary topping the list.

The teenage pregnancy rate in the three countries exceeded the 10 per cent mark while in Malta the number of babies born to teenage mothers amounted to 5.6 per cent of all births – the EU average stood at 4.9 per cent.

While the numbers showed an increase in the number of teenage mothers, it was also noted that the fertility rate in Malta had dropped to the fourth lowest in Europe, down to 1.37 births per woman.

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