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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

Teenage pregnancy is not increasing - Stats SA

"There is a notion that the grants influence young kids, young girls to produce children ... the evidence before us over a period from 1998 to 2016 doesn't show that. It doesn't show any increase in the proportion of teenagers who are giving birth, therefore dismissing and dispensing with that myth which is popular [among] parents especially in rural areas."

Statistician-General Pali Lehohla said while addressing media in Pretoria at the release of the SA Demographic and Health Survey 2016 (SADHS2016).

"So there are signs which show is that it is not so."

Lehohla said, on the basis of evidence, teenage pregnancy in South Africa is not rising but has remained stable.

"In fact, among the 19-year-olds, it has declined from 35 percent to 28 percent. Teenage pregnancy is not increasing and therefore nothing can therefore be attributed to the grants," he said.

"We want to dismiss that myth, however passionately it might be driven on fake facts. It doesn't exist."

The survey also found that the adolescent fertility rate in South Africa has declined from 76 in 1998 to 71 births per 1 000 girls aged 15 to 19 in the SADHS2016.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the Stats SA findings augment existing facts on the perceived link between social grants money and teenage pregnancy.

"It has been [previously] discovered that an overwhelming majority of young girls only go to register for social grants two years after a child is born. If surely they were falling pregnant because they target the social grants, why wait for two years? They would rush straight to home affairs department with a baby, the moment they leave the hospital. It was found that more than 80 percent of the teenagers who fall pregnant only claim child support after two years," said Motsoaledi.

He questioned how proponents of the link between child support grants and teenage pregnancy would justify teens from fellow African countries where there are no social grant facilities fall pregnant. READ MORE