Why do Hispanic women seem to have children at an earlier age?
It's a combination of factors. Speaking as a Hispanic myself, I can tell you that to begin with, the Hispanic culture, as someone else already pointed out, is very family-oriented, so an announcement of a pregnancy can be greeted with happiness because it means a new member of the family to love and dote over. In addition, Latinas face religious pressure to have babies because most of them are Catholic and, as we know, the Catholic Church is very anti-abortion and anti-birth control. And then there's also the fact that, even if Latinas don't want babies, some just don't have the money to afford contraceptives (due to anti-choice, right-wing politicians who have curtailed access to both birth control and abortion-and the monies to afford either).
The combination of cultural and religious pressure, as well as limited access to birth control and abortion, all result in women who have babies that they can't afford, don't have the capability to raise, or don't even want. It's a very sad situation for all involved and I see the misery, hopelessness, and anger coming from it.
There are so many reasons that you will have your head spinning:
1. Devote Catholicism - no birth control, no abortions.
2. Indigenous blood/mixture - history indicates early marriages and sex leading to marriage.
3. Puberty without sex education at home or sometimes not even in schools.
4. Latino passion - unbelievable how passionate the Latinos are.
5. Amazing family support - they believe that another mouth to feed is another family member and beloved by god, and is meant to be here on earth under any conditions, marriage, single motherhood, divorce, it doesn't matter.
6. Belief that "procreation of the race is everyone's obligation."
7. Every woman wants to have at least one baby if not 6.
8. Every woman wants to be a grandmother.
9. Endless family support and caring for the new child.
10. The wonderful Catholic process of baptism, first communion, confirmation,
and the events and fiestas along the way, for the pregnancy, for the birth, for the baptism, the first communion, for the confirmation, for every birthday, and every event in the child''s life - if a girl the quinceanos.
11. The hope for her marriage and her continuing the blood line.
It's an endless line or loup of celebration of love and passion - like I have never seen before. When my 45 year old sister in law got pregnant with twins, her first pregnancy - it was an amazing spectacle in the family. When my 40 year old sister in law had the quinceanos for her daughter, she's a single mom - another amazing event. Life is a celebration in Mexico - every holiday, celebration for the children - every occasion - Kings' day after Christmas - parties - fiesta - celebration of children.
And the passion between Latinos and their lovers - when I lived in Jalisco, they had at secondary school the annual Queen of the school, at age 14 she got pregant and was crowned belly and all - only the teachers were concerned about the consequences of the students seeing their peer as pregnant and Queened. The kids were excited, and the girl moved in with her boyfriends parents and they got married when the baby was born. Young passion - quite amazing.
i asked this question myself and i agree with some of the opinions because all things factor in and theres no wrong answer. But speaking from a parent myself, i would say one of them is feeling hopeless as well.
not only is it a norm in our culture, but seeing the way the education system is and our status in it, we may feel hopeless in thriving in it, while losing good grades in highschool, feeling lost, and even after highschool or while highschool, we may not know what to do with our lives, feel intimidated with college and feel our lives are going nowhere.
this is how i felt at my end years of highschool. i kept repeating classes and stuff and since sex is in our culture, by the time i was 18 i felt i need to be having sex more. but during 14 to 18 i was not having sex, just skipping class and having fun with friends. i wasnt even looking for sex in anyway. not even with a condom. but since people were doing it all around me, i figured why not, and i ended up doing the same mistake some of them were doing. basically because i was just lost. i guess its true. its just in our culture. and depends on if people deal with family and people more than educated people who wait.
One of the variables to consider here is cultural norms. When a culture has a strong emphasis on family, that includes having a lot a family around...including starting your own family when biologically able. Large families can be a sign of status,or could also mean that there are more around to help out with chores, help with siblings, etc. Part of having a large family could include having to overcome high child mortality rates, too.
I guess my experience is different than others. My family was large, but I was always encouraged to get an education and make something of myself. The more traditional families tend to be as Janelle described them, very patriarchal and archaic at times.