In the early 21st century New Zealand had one of the highest rates of teenage births of the high-income countries in the OECD. The rate of births for women aged 15–19 years was 28.4 per 1,000 women in this age group, exceeded only by the US (41.9 per 1,000). The New Zealand rate was similar to the rate for the United Kingdom (26.1).
Rates of births to younger women were lowest in Switzerland, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. These countries all had rates of six per 1,000 or less, despite reported youthful sexual experience in Scandinavian countries.
While the rate of teenage pregnancy is high in New Zealand relative to other OECD countries, the percentage of all births that are to women under 20 years old has dropped dramatically since the 1970s.
Source: UNICEF, Child poverty in perspective: an overview of child well-being in rich countries. Innocenti report card 7. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, 2007.
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