Migration Patterns as a Contributing Factor to Teen Pregnancy in Five Rural Communities in California: Youth and Adult Perceptions
Diana Lara, University of California, San Francisco
Mara Decker, University of California, San Francisco
Claire Brindis, University of California, San Francisco
Teen birth rates (TBR) in California declined from 47 births per 1,000 in 2000 to 26 per 1,000 in 2012. Nevertheless, counties with the highest TBR are more likely to be rural and have a high proportion of Latinos/as. We conducted 42 interviews with key-stakeholders and 12 youth focus groups in three counties with TBR higher than the California average to understand the neighborhood factors influencing these rates. Factors identified were residential mobility due to seasonal jobs and challenges in the integration process. These factors affect youth and families’ interactions with the school and health systems, influencing sexual behaviors. In rural areas, internal and international migration crosslink, therefore, Latino migrant youth navigate the challenges of residential mobility, while also striving to adapt to the US culture. It is important to promote programs that support the integration of immigrant youth and increase access to sexuality education and culturally-responsive reproductive health services.