Published on Data Blog

Girls enrolled in school are less likely to become pregnant as teenagers

Globally, adolescent fertility has declined from 65 births per 1,000 adolescent women in 1990 to 44 births in 2017. This decline in adolescent fertility is strongly associated with an increase in secondary school enrollment of girls. In regions with higher rates of adolescent fertility in 1990, such as Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, this relationship is even more pronounced.

Several studies highlighted in the World Bank report “The Cost of Not Educating Girls” (2018) suggest that there is a causal relationship—more education for girls can result in delayed fertility. On average, an additional year of secondary school reduces the chances of teenage childbearing by 6 percentage points. This causal relationship is explained by the higher opportunity cost in terms of lost income associated with teenage birth for women with higher level of education.


Divyanshi Wadhwa

Data Scientist, Development Data Group, World Bank

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