Monday, April 01, 2013

The falling teenage birth rate

A commentor yesterday was surprised that the teenage birth rate is dropping.

I've extracted the data from Statistics NZ and charted them. The first chart shows the birth rate per 15-19 year-olds has been dropping since 2008. The Maori rate is much higher which left me with the question, is the total rate falling only because the Maori rate is?

So I've charted births in absolute numbers. There's a slight quirk in that the Maori data is for births under twenty but there are very few under 15 so the line wouldn't change significantly.

Births for both Maori and non-Maori are dropping. I didn't chart the Pacific and Asian data but the trend is the same. So the reasons, whatever they are, are at least cross-cultural. That's a start. It'll be fascinating to see where the lines go in the next seven years.

Update. The birth rates are falling in every age group except 40 plus. Better half has just said to me it's the recession and that the same thing happened in the Depression. I imagine that the 40 plus females are going against the trend because they are running out of time and have better financial means. Also WFF introduced in 2005 seemed to produce a bit of a temporary baby boom, so a return to more 'normal' rates would be seen as a fall. But the teenage birth in 2012 was the lowest it's ever been (at least according to data going back to 1962 and you wouldn't expect it to be lower in times when people married and started families relatively young).


thor42 said...

Thanks for doing that, Lindsay!

This is very good news, especially if it continues.

JC said...

It could also be that by the mid 1990s you are well through the peak Boomer breeding years and the female cohort that shows up as teens in the 2000s has dropped. Add in that the Maori median age has increased 3-4 years to nearly 24 years in 2012 and you would expect a slowdown in teen births and an increase in births in the (Maori) 20s age group.


Lindsay Mitchell said...

Except the top graph accounts for that by showing rates per 1,000 still dropping.

Anonymous said...

The book "How Civilisations Die" notes declining birth rate generally in the west. The important stat here will be how the target group does compared to others. If the rate of decline is above the rest its a good story and not so good if not.