Teenage Pregnancy

What are the key inequalities?

The links between teenage pregnancy and deprivation are very clear, as are links with vulnerable groups such as looked after children, young people who abuse alcohol and drugs, and low educational attainment. The majority of teenage parents and their children live in deprived areas and often exhibit multiple risk factors for poverty[1].

If a young woman experiences multiple risk factors the evidence suggests that she has a 56% chance of becoming a teenage mother compared with a 3% chance for young women experiencing none of these risk factors. Teenage pregnancy disproportionately affects those who are already disadvantaged and this further increases the likelihood of future social exclusion. Research has indicated that a number of risk factors are associated with teenage pregnancy are:

  • Living in a deprived area
  • Limited knowledge of where to access contraception and sexual health advice
  • Living in care
  • Alcohol and substance misuse
  • Early onset of sexual activity
  • Low educational attainment
  • Disengagement form School
  • Leaving school at 16 with no qualifications[2]

In addition, evidence has shown that free school meals eligibility and slower than expected progress between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 are also risk factors for pregnancy before the age of 18[3].


[1] Central Bedfordshire Health and Wellbeing Board, Central Bedfordshire Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2012-2016, Bedfordshire, 2013.

[2] Department for Education and Skills, Teenage Pregnancy: Accelerating the Strategy to 2010, DfES Publications, Nottingham, 2006.

[3] Crawford, C, Cribb, J & Kelly, E. Teenage Pregnancy in England, CAYT Impact Study: Report 6, Institute of Fiscal Studies, Sheffield, 2011


Last updated Thursday, 20th October 2016