Determinants of childbearing among young people in South Africa : findings from the National Income Dynamics Study.
Young people in South Africa grow and develop in a context of high unemployment and poverty. These factors increase their vulnerability of engaging in risky sexual behaviour. The negative outcomes associated with early childbearing have far reaching consequences for not only the young mother and child but also the country‟s labour market and economy. As a result, key to addressing childbearing among young people is to understand the social context which young people are faced with. Therefore, this study aims at identifying the extent and determinants of childbearing among people aged 15-24 years, in South Africa. The data for the study comes from the 2008 National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS). The analysis is restricted to 2623 females aged 15-24 years at the time of enumeration. Analysis is conducted on weighted data so that inferences can be made about the population. The analysis uses descriptive and multivariate analysis to identify possible determinants of early childbearing among young people. The results highlight factors such as age and marital status as possible socio-demographic determinants of childbearing among young people. Socio-economic status is also identified as one of the main predictors of early childbearing for females aged 15-24 years. Social issues such as transactional sex, gender violence and coerced, early sexual debut are discussed as possible determinants of early childbearing. However the analysis of these factors is restricted as they are not measured in the dataset. It was concluded that understanding the social context which influence young peoples‟ decision to engage in risky sexual behaviour is key to addressing the issue of early childbearing.