Adolescent Fertility in the Developing World: Trends and Comparisons between Countries and Major Areas

Hantamalala Rafalimanana, United Nations
Vasantha K. Kandiah, United Nations

This paper presents an overview of the recent trends in adolescent fertility in the developing world. The data used come from the Demographic and Health Surveys for 40 countries. The results of the analysis show that, in general, adolescent fertility has slightly decreased in Africa and Asia whereas it has increased in Latin America and the Caribbean. As expected, early childbearing is more prominent among less educated, rural, and poor women and this holds true across countries and the major areas of the world. What is unexpected is that the increase in adolescent fertility in Latin America and the Caribbean occurred despite the fact that contraceptive use among the young women (aged 15-19 and 20-24) of this major area has also increased during the same period. The paper concludes with a discussion of the factors that may explain the differing trends in adolescent fertility in the developing world.

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Presented in Session 73: Comparative Trends in Adolescent Fertility