Story: Teenagers and youth

Teen pregnancies, 1962-2015

Teenage pregnancy rates rose during the 1960s. More liberal attitudes toward premarital sex had arrived, but reliable contraception was not yet widely available. In 1972, almost 7% of 15–19-year-old girls gave birth to a child. Teen marriages were relatively common in the early 1970s. The rapid decline in teenage pregnancies over that decade is linked to the wider prescribing of the pill and the use of other contraceptives. Doctors were not allowed to prescribe contraception to under-16-year-olds until 1977. New Zealand's rate of teenage pregnancy dropped significantly in the 2010s but was still high compared with most other western countries.

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How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Teenagers and youth - Teenage sexuality', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 May 2022)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Aug 2017