Limited socioeconomic opportunities and Latina teen childbearing: a qualitative study of family and structural factors affecting future expectations

J Immigr Minor Health. 2013 Apr;15(2):334-40. doi: 10.1007/s10903-012-9653-z.


The decrease in adolescent birth rates in the United States has been slower among Latinas than among other ethnic/racial groups. Limited research has explored how socioeconomic opportunities influence childbearing among Latina adolescents. We conducted in-depth interviews with 65 pregnant foreign- and US-born Latina women (31 adolescents; 34 adults) in two California counties. We assessed perceived socioeconomic opportunities and examined how family, immigration and acculturation affected the relationships between socioeconomic opportunities and adolescent childbearing. Compared with women who delayed childbearing into adulthood, pregnant adolescents described having few resources for educational and career development and experiencing numerous socioeconomic and social barriers to achieving their goals. Socioeconomic instability and policies limiting access to education influenced childbearing for immigrant adolescents. In contrast, family disintegration tied to poverty figured prominently in US-born adolescents' childbearing. Limited socioeconomic opportunities may play a large role in persistently high pregnancy rates among Latina adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • California
  • Communication Barriers
  • Educational Status
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult