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J Sch Health. 1992 Sep;62(7):345-51.

Adolescent pregnancy prevention for Hispanic youth: the role of schools, families, and communities.

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Center for Reproductive Health Policy Research, University of California, San Francisco.


A sociodemographic profile of Hispanic youth is presented as well as a description of the incidence of adolescent pregnancy and parenting in this population. Strategies and recommendations that should be implemented to provide Hispanic youth with viable options and assistance in delaying early childbearing also are offered.


Many different peoples are considered Hispanic within the US. Specifically, Hispanics constitute 9% of the US population and include 10.32 million Mexicans, 2.6 million Puerto Ricans, 1 million Cubans, 1.7 million Central or South Americans, and 1.4 million individuals of other Spanish origin. 2/3 reside in California, Texas, and New York. Together they make up the fastest growing ethnic minority population in the US. Accordingly, efforts are being made to understand the behavioral characteristics, sociocultural norms, and social needs of these peoples within the broad context of american society. As may be expected, however, differences among subgroups of Hispanics in poverty, education, employment, family structure, and age distribution are often greater than overall differences between Hispanics and non-Hispanics. Such differences make broad-based generalizing about Hispanics difficult and suspect at best. Nonetheless, some general observations may be made. Hispanics are overall younger than non-hispanics; Hispanics are of median age 25 years, while non-Hispanics are of median age 32. Of high fertility, the US population of Hispanic youth will grow by almost 80% to 10 million by the year 2030. This growth contrasts with an expected 14% increase in the black population and a proportional drop of 10% in the population of white youth. Further, Hispanics tend to highly value family and children and suffer considerable prevalences of poverty, 1-parent families, and low educational status. 1/3 Hispanic youths are sexually active. A relatively high prevalence of gonorrhea and syphilis exist within this population, yet they are underrepresented in the number of reported cases of HIV infection. Less likely than Whites to use contraceptives, Hispanics are more likely to become pregnant and keep their children. Unprotected sexual intercourse exposes these youths to the risk of HIV infection. Relatively early childbearing is common among young Hispanic women. A 1982 National Survey of Family Growth revealed that more than 4/10 Hispanic teens gave birth by age 20. A multi-strategy approach involving organizations, homes, schools, churches, and mass media is needed to help increase educational, vocational, political, and health care opportunities for Hispanic youths. Intervention strategies and recommendations are provided.

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