New CSO figures show major drop in teenage pregnancies over past 16 years
The fall is the result of better sexual education and awareness of contraceptives.
Teenage pregnancies have declined by 66% over a 16-year period, new figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal.
The annual number has fallen from 3,087 in 2001 to 1,041 in 2016, with this number dropping again during 2017 to 1,041 based on CSO birth figures.
This 66% decrease equates to a fall in the teenage birth rate from 20 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 in Ireland during 2001 to 6.9 per 1,000 in 2017.
The HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme has welcomed the news, with the programme's head, Helen Deely saying, "There has been a significant shift in society in recent years.
"More teenagers than in the past are receiving Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) in schools and youth-work settings, and the majority of teenagers who are sexually active report 'always' using contraception. Several studies show that most teenagers in Ireland are aged between 17 and 19 the first time they have sex."
Deely went on to say: "While the reduction in today’s figures are welcome, there is more work to be done to ensure that young people have the information they need.
"We believe that parents’ role in sexuality education needs to be strengthened and more parents supported to provide relationships and sexuality education to their children throughout their lives.
"We know that parents can find talking to their children about relationships, sexuality and growing up challenging; but parents and guardians have a huge influence on their teenagers and it is important that teenagers know the facts before they decide to have sex for the first time."