Volume 20 - Article 9 | Pages 169-194

Is Latin America starting to retreat from early and universal childbearing?

By Luis Rosero-Bixby, Teresa Castro-Martín, Teresa Martín-García

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Date received:22 Oct 2008
Date published:20 Feb 2009
Word count:5793
Keywords:childlessness, fertility, first birth, Latin America


The 2000 censuses show that the proportion of women below age 30 who are mothers has dropped substantially in most Latin America countries, suggesting that the social imperative of early motherhood, which has long prevailed in the region, is weakening. Surveys conducted in 14 Latin American countries in 2006 also show a strong link between childlessness and higher education across several cohorts. We discuss whether the recent increase in childlessness among young women reflects a shift towards later childbearing, a novel trend in the Latin American context, and also whether it may signal an emerging retreat from universal childbearing in the region.

Author's Affiliation

Luis Rosero-Bixby - Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica [Email]
Teresa Castro-Martín - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CISC), Spain [Email]
Teresa Martín-García - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CISC), Spain [Email]

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» Single motherhood and low birthweight in Spain: Narrowing social inequalities in health?
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» Women’s changing socioeconomic position and union formation in Spain and Portugal
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» Not truly partnerless: Non-residential partnerships and retreat from marriage in Spain
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