The number of teen mothers on welfare has more than halved since 2009, the Government says.

There were 1836 teenage mums on "main" benefits at the end of last year, down from 4263 in 2009 - a fall of 57 per cent.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said teen parents had some of the highest lifetime costs of any group on welfare. On average, they spent more than 17 years on welfare.

"If we can give young mums opportunities to be independent and successful then that will mean better lives for their children," she said.


"We know that kids who grow up in benefit-dependent homes are more likely to go on to a benefit, are more likely to be notified to CYF and are less likely to achieve NCEA Level 2."

Tolley credited the reduction to the Government's Youth Service, which supports young solo parents in job training, education, budgeting and parenting.

An additional $41 million was invested in the service last yera to extend it to 19-year-olds.