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Puerto Rico

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

Poverty and divorce rates are high in Puerto Rico, where many families are female headed, but families in need can access assistance and nutritional support. Spanish colonization and Christianity influence motherhood. Educational attainment is high, as is contraceptive use. Most women receive skilled prenatal care. Migration to the U.S. mainland and a declining birthrate contribute to the graying of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated, organized territory of the United States with commonwealth status. Situated between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, it has a population of 3.9 million people.

The fertility rate is 1.76 children per mother, down from 5.2 in the 1950s. The decline is linked to the introduction of the birth control pill. Low-income and poor women are eligible for Temporary Assistance ...

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