|Trends in adolescent first births in five countries in Latin America and the Caribbean: disaggregated data from demographic and health surveys
|Sarah Neal, Chloe Harvey, Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli, Sonja Caffe, and Alma Virginia Camacho
|Reproductive Health, 15(1):146; DOI: 10.1186/s12978-018-0578-4
Multiple L.A./Caribbean Countries
Adolescents in the Latin American and Caribbean region continue to experience poor reproductive health outcomes, including high rates of first birth before the age of 20 years. Aggregate national level data fails to identify groups where progress is particularly poor. This paper explores how trends in adolescent births have changed over time in five countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Peru) using data disaggregated by adolescent age group, wealth and urban / rural residence.
The study draws on Demographic and Health Survey data from five countries where three surveys are available since 1990, with the most recent after 2006. It examines trends in adolescent births by wealth status and urban/rural residence.
There has been little progress in reducing adolescent first births over the last two decades in these countries. Adolescent first births continue to be more common among the poorest and rural residents, and births among the youngest age-group (16 years) are particularly concentrated among these populations.
Adolescent first births continue to be a major issue in these five countries, including amongst the youngest group (16 years), although the contexts in which it is occurring are changing over time. Efforts are needed to expand sexual education and services for adolescents and young people, as well as introduce and enforce legislation to provide effective protection from abuse or exploitation. Greater disaggregation of adolescent fertility data is needed if we are to measure progress towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals to “leave no-one behind”.