Sunday, April 21, 2024

Survey Shows High Teen Pregnancy Rate for Latinas

According to a survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy co-sponsored by the Hispanic advocacy group, National Council of La Raza, 53 percent of Latinas get pregnant in their teens, about twice the national average.

Ruthie Flores, senior manager of the National Campaign’s Latino Initiative says, “There’s a big disconnect between pregnancy rates and what Latina families want and value.”

759 Latina teens were surveyed; 49 percent said their parents most influenced their decisions about sex, compared with 14 percent who cited friends.

Flores says that it is important to understand the beliefs and attitudes that influence teen behavior in order to reduce the high rates of Hispanic teen pregnancy. She adds, “Teen pregnancy is not an isolated issue. It’s related to poverty, to dropout rates. That’s going to have an impact on our national as a whole.”

Flores said 69 percent of Latino teen moms drop out of high school, and the children of teen mothers are less likely to do well in school themselves and often repeat grades. She mentions that there is a big economic impact as a result of this.

Perhaps a reason for such high teen pregnancy rates for Latinas is that Hispanics parents are less likely to discuss contraception with their children. Three-quarters of Latino teens said their parents have talked to them about sex and relationships, yet only half said their parents discussed contraception.

Interestingly enough the historic tradition of machismo in the Latino culture may be a reason why the survey reveals that 74 percent of Latino teens believe that parents send one message about sex to their sons and a different message altogether to their daughters.

The survey also reveals the following facts:

  • The most common reasons teens do not use contraception is that they are afraid their parents might find out.
  • 72 percent of sexually experienced teens say they wish they had waited.
  • 34 percent of Latino teens believe that being a teen parent would prevent them from reaching their goals, but 47 percent say being a teen parent would simply delay them from reaching their goals.
  • 76 percent said it is important to be married before starting a family.

There are 45 million Latinos in the US making them the largest minority group with a growth rate twice that of the general population. By 2025, one-quarter of all American teens will be Latino.