Adolescent Schooling and Pregnancy in South Africa: Exploring the Causal Linkages
Kelly Hallman, Population Council
Societal transformations have contributed to lengthening the period between puberty and marriage, particularly for girls, and have led to greater opportunities for education and skills development. In this new global environment, adolescent sexual and reproductive behavior can have crucial implications for opportunities later in life. The effects of unwanted pregnancy may particularly limit girls’ future possibilities. While early childbearing has been shown in a number of settings to limit girls’ educational prospects, the economic, social, and cultural circumstances that create the conditions for premature pregnancy and childbearing are often closely intertwined with those that cause school delays and drop-out. Sexual risk-taking can have many nonsexual antecedents, including poor school quality and performance. Causality may therefore be difficult to establish. Using our unique data source, the relationships among school attendance, educational attainment, pregnancy, and childbearing are explored for young women age 14-24 years in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa.