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Jamaica

  • By: Keri L. Heitner
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Fertility rates in Jamaica, once a British colony, have declined, but the adolescent fertility rate is very high. Women's educational attainment exceeds men's, and women are often the sole wage earner. Diverse religions influence mothering ideals. Contraceptive use varies despite high knowledge. Most women receive skilled prenatal care and delivery. Landmark legislation includes paid maternity leave and the Maintenance Act of 2005.

The fertility rate of 2.3 children per mother has declined steadily in Jamaica since the 1970s, but the adolescent fertility rate is the highest among English-speaking Caribbean nations. More than three-quarters of pregnancies among young women are unplanned; about 40 percent have had a child by age 20. Contraceptive use by women in union is about 69 percent. Men's belief that having many sexual ...

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