Hispanics Accounted for About Half of Teen Births in New Jersey County in 2004, Data Show
Nearly 50% of teenagers who gave birth in Cumberland County, N.J., in 2004 were Hispanic, according to statistics from the not-for-profit Association for Children of New Jersey obtained on Monday, the Bridgeton News reports. According to 2005 census figures, Hispanics make up 23% of the county's population. Higher birth rates among Hispanic teens are "not necessarily viewed as a problem" among Hispanics, according to the News.
Cultural, religious and social differences between Mexico and South America and the U.S. contribute to the higher teen pregnancy rates among Hispanics, the News reports. "What we're seeing with the Hispanics is (the high rate of teenage pregnancy) is very cultural," Kimberly McKown-Strait, executive director of FamCare, said, adding, "(Most immigrants) are used to having children at 13 or 14. They come here as teenagers, not to go to school, but to work. They usually have an older boyfriend. It's just very accepted in their culture to have children at a young age."
According to the News, in many Mexican states, the age of consent is as young as 12. In addition, religious beliefs keep some immigrants from obtaining an abortion, she said.
FamCare and Community Health Care do some outreach to teens, including talking with workers on farms about sex and distributing condoms (Dunn, Bridgeton News, 5/2).