Journal of
Public Health and Epidemiology

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Health Epidemiol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2316
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPHE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 609

Full Length Research Paper

Adolescent fertility in selected countries of Latin America and the Caribbean

Cristina Gomes
Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, FLACSO, Mexico.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 16 March 2012
  •  Published: 31 May 2012


This article analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of different sources of quantitative data to measure teenage pregnancy in Latin American and the Caribbean countries. Previous studies discuss how low education, poverty, family background, low expectation of the girls about their future promote the increases in adolescent pregnancy observed in Latin American countries in the last decades. This study provides a comparison of descriptive data on socio-economic and demographic characteristics of girls 15 to 19 years old and specific fertility rate for this group in selected countries in the region, using descriptive analysis of data from demographic and health surveys and from censuses, with emphasis on differences in adolescent fertility and pregnancy and other related indicators by education level, ethnic characteristics, work and access to health services. Results highlight these differences among and inside countries. Internal inequalities and disadvantages in education, labor opportunities, access to health services and poverty are related to higher rates of adolescent motherhood. Differences among countries are linked to the structure of opportunities for youth in rural and urban areas. Finally, the study put emphasis in the importance of increasing the coverage of civil and health registration and health services in less developed countries, to integrate information from different sources, and to generate managerial information for local governments to implement policies to improve the access and quality of health services provided and the register of adolescent motherhood, preventing unwanted adolescent pregnancy and fertility, and to offer an adequate care and protection for teenage girls and their children.


Key words: Adolescent, fertility, pregnancy, reproductive health, census, surveys, civil, health registration.