THE number of teenage mothers in Ireland has halved in the past decade.
New figures show that the number of babies born to teenage mothers hit its lowest rate in 10 years last year.
Only 2pc (1,381) of children born in 2013 were born to a mother aged under 20, according to the new statistics.
The HSE welcomed the news from the CSO yesterday and credited the HSE’s sex education programme with helping to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies.
“The consistently downward trend in births among teenagers demonstrates a positive change in our society over the last decade,” said Dr Stephanie O’Keeffe, HSE national director of health and well-being.
Research shows that children who receive sex education are 1.5 times more likely to use contraception when they have sex.
The median age for teenage boys to have sex for the first time is 17, while for girls it is slightly higher at 18.
“While a minority of young people are sexually active before this age, we know that the vast majority use contraception,” Dr O’Keeffe said.
The HSE established the Crisis Pregnancy Programme in 2001 and the number of teenage pregnancies has lessened each year since.