Current status + progress
The highest rates of early childbearing are found in sub-Saharan African countries
Adolescence is a vulnerable phase in human development as it represents a transition from childhood to physical and psychological maturity. During this period, adolescents learn and develop knowledge and skills to deal with critical aspects of their health and development while their bodies mature. Adolescent girls, especially younger girls, are particularly vulnerable because they face the risks of premature pregnancy and childbirth. Maternal conditions are the top cause of mortality among girls aged 15-19 globally. In 2018, the estimated adolescent birth rate globally was 44 births per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19; in West and Central Africa, this figure stood at 115 births, the highest regional rate in the world. Countries such as Central African Republic, Niger, Chad, Angola and Mali top the list of countries with highest adolescent birth rate (above 178). In the 2010–2015 period, over 45 per cent of women 20–24 reported having given birth for the first time by age 18.