Early Childbearing and Schooling in Urban South Africa

Leticia J. Marteleto, University of Michigan
David Lam, University of Michigan
Vimal Ranchhod, University of Michigan

South Africa's total fertility rate is fewer than three births per woman and declining. At the same time we find that more than 35 percent of 20-year-old girls have given birth at least once. Limited data in developing countries, particularly the lack of information on timing of events, has not allowed for properly addressing how early life characteristics matter for early childbearing and schooling. We take advantage of a unique panel data to examine the dynamics defining early childbearing and the factors facilitating school enrollment after childbearing. The Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS) is a survey of 4,800 young people in Cape Town that also includes a calendar with extensive retrospective information. Unlike many countries, a birth does not necessarily mean South African girls permanently drop out of school. We find for example that 35% of girls who gave birth at age 15 are enrolled in school at age 16.

  See paper

Presented in Session 73: Comparative Trends in Adolescent Fertility