Inequalities in Teenage Pregnancy and Fertility by Race and Place

Shelley Clark , McGill University
Paula Fomby, University of Michigan

Despite declines in teen childbirth rates since 1990, inequalities by both race and place persist. Although extensive research has identified the main social, cultural and economic factors that underlie divergent racial patterns of early fertility, the main divers of rural-urban disparities remains poorly understood. Using data from 1,808 young women in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Transition into Adulthood Supplement, we take a life course perspective to show that the elevated risk of childbirth among rural adolescent girls is largely attributable to differences in household educational and economic factors rather than family structure and religion. Yet, unlike their urban counterparts, neither membership in better educated or currently wealthier households offers rural girls greater protection from early motherhood. Instead, economic conditions at the time of their birth are most important.

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 Presented in Session 204. Spatial and Contextual Effects on Reproductive Health and Fertility