The age of women at first birth has been increasing in Australia, with a 2015 average of 28.9 years (AIHW 2017a). In 2015, 2.7% of all births in Australia were to teenage mothers—for the purposes of this report ‘teenage’ refers to mothers aged under 20—most of whom were aged 18 or 19 (73.8%); 0.8% were aged under 15.

Teenage mothers remain of interest, as they are more likely than older mothers to experience broader disadvantage because of their younger age, including access to education, employment and social support (AIHW 2012; Marino et al. 2016; McArthur & Barry 2013).

Evidence also shows that babies born to teenage mothers are more likely to be pre-term, of low birthweight and more likely to suffer higher morbidity and mortality (AIHW 2012; AIHW 2016b; Marino et al. 2016).