Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Oh Dear... appears that dear, sweet Karl Du Fresne has Coddingtoned his stats. As I noted yesterday, he made the following claim in his Dompost Column.

New Zealand has the second-highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the OECD and our abortion rate remains one of the highest in the developed world. The rate has more than trebled since 1980 and, most tellingly, it has steadily increased in the age groups where the FPA directs much of its efforts. For girls aged 11-14 it has doubled since 1991, and for older teenagers – those aged 15-19 – it has risen by 60 per cent.
With regards to the trebling since 1980, it's not exactly clear whether he's referring to the abortion rate or the teen pregnancy rate. Let's examine both in turn.

Teenage Pregnancies:

According to Statistics New Zealand
In the early 1970s, 70 out of every 1,000 teenagers had a child in any year. By the mid-1980s the figure had fallen to 30 per 1,000. Subsequently, it varied between 30 and 35 per 1,000 until 1997. There has been a general downward trend in the last five years, and in 2002 the fertility rate for teenagers was at a historical low of 25.6 per 1,000.
In other words, the teenage pregnancy rate has not 'more than trebled since 1980'.

According to Statistics New Zealand
...the teenage abortion rate has almost doubled since 1980...
That's 'almost doubled,' not 'more than tripled'.

But the big picture is more interesting, as Stats NZ notes:
Interestingly, although the teenage abortion rate has almost doubled since 1980, it was accompanied by a decline in teenage fertility (see Figure 4). Thus, short-term variations aside, the known pregnancy rate (live births plus abortions) in 2001 (50 per 1,000) was almost the same as that 20 years earlier in 1981, in spite of a number of social changes, such as non-eligibility to welfare support and high levels of youth unemployment, which may have been expected to act as disincentives to teenage childbearing.
And what about the good old days (you know before our country was run by "leftist lesbians")? Guess what? Teengage pregnancy rates aren't much different from what they were in 1901. And they are much lower than they were in the 1940s and 50s.

In other words. Du Fresne's stats are nonsense.

Seeing as I've been digging round the stats website I thought I show one other table too.

You'll note that, among developed countries, New Zealand's stats on teen pregnancies and the like compare poorly. Only one country stands out as being consistently worse the United States. Home of the 'religious approach to teenage sex'. Compare that to the Netherlands which has comprehensive sex education.

In short Karl Du Fresene, in his swipe at leftists, lesbians and FPA has been utterly dishonest.

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