Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Measuring the distribution of adolescent births among 15–19-year-olds in Chile: an ecological study
  1. Marissa Velarde,
  2. Fernando Zegers-Hochschild
  1. Program of Ethics and Public Policy in Human Reproduction (PREPRE), University Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile
  1. Correspondence to Marissa Velarde, Manuel Rodriguez Sur 253, Edificio EA, Santiago, Chile; marissa.velarde{at}


Background Although within Latin America Chile has one of the lowest birth rates among adolescents, it has a high rate in comparison to other developed nations.

Aim To explore trends in birth rates among adolescents by selected demographics in Chile.

Methods The national trend in birth rates was examined for women aged 15–19 years between 1992 and 2012. The birth rates for regions and communes were calculated using birth and census data and were analysed to determine its relationship to the regional or communal poverty rate, which were obtained from the Casen Survey. Differences in educational attainment were explored among adolescents with first-order and second-order or higher births using the Chi-square test.

Results The birth rate among adolescents has experienced a 25% decline in the past 20 years. Cross-regional variance in birth rates could not be explained by poverty rates. Within the Metropolitan Region, there is a positive correlation between poverty and adolescent birth rates. Among adolescents giving birth, 67% had completed 10–12 years of school at birth, but there is a significant difference in educational attainment between girls with a first-order and those with a higher-order birth.

Conclusions In Chile, the adolescent birth rate varies greatly among regions and communes. This study found that urban and wealthy areas had lower birth rates than poor and rural ones, and that girls with a first-order birth had completed more years of school than girls with higher-order births.

  • teen pregnancy
  • adolescent births
  • social inequality
  • Chile

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was published Online First. Owing to a scripting error, some of the publisher names in the references were replaced with ’BMJ Publishing Group'. This only affected the full text version, not the PDF. We have since corrected these errors and the correct publishers have been inserted into the references.

Linked Articles

  • Highlights from this issue
    British Medical Journal Publishing Group