The Malta Independent 21 October 2017, Saturday

Number of Maltese teenage mothers remains in decline, EU reports show

Joanna Demarco Sunday, 13 August 2017, 07:00 Last update: about 3 months ago

The number of Maltese teenage mothers remains in decline, whilst the number of women having their first child in their 30’s continues to witness an increase, a new Eurostat report shows.

The report on teenage and older mothers in the EU, which was published yesterday, is based on data collected in 2015.  By looking at the same data of previous years from as far as 2007, one can note a trend; a decrease in teenage mothers and an increase in mothers having their first child in their thirties.

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A decade ago, in 2007, Malta saw 171 teenage first-time mothers, who fell into an age category of females younger than 20 years of age.  In 2012, the number was down to 155 births, following which it dropped again to 114 in 2013, decreasing to 95 first-time mothers in 2015.

Besides this decline, figures by Eurostat between the years 2007 and 2015 also show a shift in age as to when women are having their first child, with more women having children in their late thirties. Between 2007 and 2012, the majority of first born children belonged to mothers aged between 25 to 29 years of age. In 2013 and 2015, the majority of first borns shifted to the ’30 to 34’ age group for the first time. The year 2014 saw an exception to the rule as it also marked the majority of first borns to mothers in the ’25 to 29’ age group.

Moreover, the ’35 to 39 years old’ category also showed a marked steady increase from 93 first time mothers in 2007, to 156 mothers of the same age group in 2010, to 198 in 2012, and 238 women in 2015.

The number of women having children in their early twenties also plummeted throughout the years, with 424 ‘20-24 year old’ first-time mothers in 2007, to 295 in 2015.

The ’40 to 44’ age group has more than doubled between 2007 and 2015. In 2007 and 2008, 11 and 15 mothers respectively gave birth to their first child at that age. In 2010, the number went up to 23, and in 2015 it was registered at 35 women.

The 2015 report shows that only nine other EU countries have higher percentages than Malta with regards to teenage first-time mothers. Romania marked the highest number of first-time teenage mothers, with over 12% of first-time pregnancies by teenage mothers, followed by Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Poland and Estonia.

Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Denmark and Sweden ranked as having the smallest figures of first-time teenage mothers, all slightly above 1%.

On average, that year women in the EU were 29 years old when they became mothers for the first time.

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