Theoretical and Methodological Issues and Challenges in Analyses of Teen Fertility
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The United States has the highest teen birth rate of any developed country in the world. In the period 2005-2010, the fertility rate for the United States was 41 births per 1,000 women ages 15-19, compared to 26 births in the United Kingdom, and 4 in Switzerland and The Netherlands. However, the teen birth rates in the United States vary considerably by race and ethnic group. National vital statistics data for 2009 report that the rate for Blacks is more than twice that of non-Hispanic Whites, and the rate for Latinas is almost three times as high. The difference within Latino groups is just as dramatic. The adolescent fertility rate per 1,000 for Cubans is 23.5, while for Puerto Ricans it is 61.67, and for Mexicans the rate is 78.7. Teen pregnancy and childbearing in the Mexican American population are issues of great concern because this ethnic group is the fastest growing population in the United States. The literature on teen childbearing among Latinos, and specifically among Mexican origin teens, tends to attribute the high rates to cultural differences. In this dissertation, I argue that the high rates of teen pregnancy cannot properly be attributed to "cultural" characteristics. Instead, I develop falsifiable hypotheses that are derived from theoretical frameworks which recognize the relationship between racial inequalities and teen fertility. I first test the social characteristics hypothesis to determine the effect that income and parents? education have on teen fertility. Second, I test if other characteristics such as religiosity, type of religion and views on teen pregnancy have an impact on predicting the odds of having a teen birth. Third, drawing on demographic literature, I ascertain whether educational experiences and aspirations to attend college are critical factors in predicting a teen birth. Last, I test if having a teen birth has the same impact for Mexican origin teens compared to Whites in terms of being able to obtain a college degree.
Conde-Dudding, Eugenia (2011). Theoretical and Methodological Issues and Challenges in Analyses of Teen Fertility. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from