Adolescent pregnancy and parenthood in South Africa

Type Journal Article - Studies in family planning
Title Adolescent pregnancy and parenthood in South Africa
Volume 32
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2001
Page numbers 147-160
South Africa's total fertility rate is estimated to be one of the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, fewer than three births per woman nationally and declining. At the same time, adolescent childbearing levels remain high: More than 30 percent of 19-year-old girls are reported to have given birth at least once. Evidence from focus-group discussions conducted in urban and rural areas in South Africa with young black women and men, and with the parents of teenage mothers, is used to consider the experience of early parenthood, including the role of paternity, education, work opportunities, and subsequent fertility. In South Africa, in contrast to many other settings, teenage mothers may return to school once they have given birth, and this opportunity is strongly related to a long delay before the birth of a second child. Educated girls also tend to bring more bridewealth, which may encourage parents to support their daughters' schooling, and perhaps their return to school following childbirth. The support of the child, however, is often subject to paternal recognition and. commitment, even though boys are unwilling to admit paternity because it jeopardizes their educational and employment opportunities.

Related studies