Brussels: Researcher Marjolein De Wilde combined Flemish, Belgian and European data, and concluded that the number of teenage girls giving birth to a child dropped to 6 per 1,000, coming from 7.96 in 2002. That’s a 25 percent drop in 10 years’ time.
Flanders traditionally has fewer teenage mums than other regions: the figure for Brussels is 14.79, compared to 13.19 for Wallonia. “The cultural background and the standard of living are determining factors. Poverty creates a higher number of teenage mothers,” says Marjolein De Wilde. The figure for the whole country puts Belgium close to the European average.
All West-European countries are seeing a ten-year low, with often a specific drop after 2007. De Wilde cites a better prevention at a regional level but also the crisis as possible explanations. “Different future prospects can affect sexual behaviour within certain groups of the population.”
The study shows that the crisis hits youngsters hardest. When they leave school, they don’t know if they will find a job. This could trigger a higher number of abortions, and thus a lower number of teenage mothers.