Pregnancy rates among teens worldwide are inclusive of teenage girls who become pregnant before reaching the age of 20, whether they are single or married. Due to many of the potential negative outcomes from it, teen pregnancy is seen as a major societal issue in the majority of countries worldwide today. Still, developing countries and industrialized countries have differing teenage pregnancy rates, largely due to the situations of the mothers often involved. Teen pregnancy that occurs in North America and Western Europe tends to involve unmarried women. The majority of teen pregnancy in developing countries, however, occur in married teenage girls.
The Highest Rates Found in Africa
Today, countries in Africa have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the world. The country of Niger tops the list at 203.604 births per 100,000 teenage women. Going on down the line following Niger are Mali (175.4438), Angola (166.6028), Mozambique (142.5334), Guinea (141.6722), Chad (137.173), Malawi (136.972), and Cote d'Ivoire (135.464). In several of these countries, teenage marriages are the major cause of subsequent teenage pregnancies. Baby mortality rates are also typically higher in these countries, due to both insufficient medical infrastructure and increased risks associated with these younger women bearing children. There are also the added burdens of malnutrition, famine, war and pestilence that are rampant across several countries making the top of this list. War in particular adds to teenage pregnancy rates due to the sad reality of the invading soldiers who rape local women.
Cultural Views on Abortion
Although today more and more countries have liberal abortion laws, outcomes differ because of access and attitudes. In Sweden, 70% of teenage pregnancies are aborted while only 26% end the same way in the United States. Another finding about abortion is that the higher the incidence of teen pregnancies in a country, the lower the abortion rates are compared to live birth. Abortion is almost unheard of in many of the countries at the top of this list.
The Effect of Teen Pregnancies
The children of teenage mothers are also disadvantaged themselves in a number of ways. First of all, infant mortality rates are higher among teenage mothers’ children. Due to an increased risk of developmental problems, these children often also have lessened motor and language skills in childhood than do their age-matched counterparts birthed by older mothers. For this reason, teenage pregnancy should be seen as a problem in need of addressing and action in developing nations and the developed world alike to secure better futures for children across the globe.