Volume 32 - Article 55 | Pages 1487–1518  

Long-term consequences of adolescent fertility: The Colombian case

By B. Piedad Urdinola, Carlos Ospino


Background: Estimating the long-term effects of adolescent motherhood is challenging for all developing countries, including Colombia, where this rate has been steadily increasing for 24 years, despite the reduction in the overall fertility rate. We propose a replicable methodology by applying a pseudo panel that evaluates the consequences of adolescent motherhood on outcomes previously neglected in the literature, such as job quality, marriage instability, partner's job class, presence of physical abuse by current partner, and children's health.

Objective: To examine how adolescent mothers compare with non-adolescent mothers in outcomes not previously studied, such as job quality, marriage instability, partner's job class, if respondent has been physically abused by current partner, and health outcomes for their children

Methods: We built a pseudo panel using four Demographic and Health Surveys (1995-2010) and compared the effects of older adolescent childbearing (ages 18-19) with those of women who postponed motherhood for just a couple of years (ages 20-21), exploiting the natural difference between adolescents and young adults who become mothers.

Results: The results revealed younger mothers as well as their partners hold lower-class jobs, suffer higher rates of domestic violence at the hands of their partners, and have a higher share of deceased children.

Conclusions: The latter two results lead us to suggest aggressive and comprehensive targeted public policies both for prevention of adolescent motherhood and for following their just-born babies' health.

Author's Affiliation

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