In 1999, the government launched a 10-year national teenage pregnancy prevention strategy for England, whose aim was to halve under 18 conception rates. Although the target was missed, the rate of conception per 1,000 15-17 year old girls fell by 34% between 1998 and 2011. However, evidence on the apparent negative consequences of teenage motherhood for mothers and children means that policymakers continue to have an interest in reducing teenage conception rates still further (e.g. DCSF & DoH, 2010). To do so requires a detailed understanding of the risk factors associated with teenage pregnancy – and the decision to continue with that pregnancy – but there is relatively little robust quantitative evidence on these issues.
This CAYT (Centre for the Analysis of Youth Transisions) report makes use of a unique new administrative dataset linking maternity and abortion records to the education records of all girls attending state schools in England to help fill this evidence gap. Using information on conceptions that occurred before the end of compulsory education for girls born between September 1989 and August 1992, our results provide new insights into the individual, school and area-level risk factors associated with teenage conceptions and the decision to continue with a pregnancy conditional on conceiving.
The Office for National Statistics undertook a project to link education and conceptions data sources. Their report on the project, 'Report into the feasibility of matching teenage conception data with school census data', can be viewed here .
A repository of CAYT impact studies is hosted by Mentor-Adepis (Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service).