A new survey co-sponsored by the National Council of La Raza, shows a pretty big disconnect between the ambitions of young Latinas and the extremely high rate of teen pregnancy among American Latinas.
That rate of Latinas who get pregnant in their teens, by the way, is 53%, which is more than twice the national average. But lest one think — as, undoubtedly, some right-wing commentator will comment — that this is what they all want, it's important to note that their ambitions (and those of their parents) look much like the rest of America's.
The survey also found that 84 percent of Latino teens and 91 percent of Latino parents believe that graduating from college or university or having a promising career is the most important goal for a teen's future.
So where is the disconnect coming from? The survey hints that it stems, in part, from conflicting messages about sex and contraception.
Although nearly half of the Latino teens surveyed said their parents influenced their decisions about sex, and three-quarters had gotten The Talk, only half of those that got the talk heard anything about contraception. The survey had two other interesting results.
The survey also found that:
- 74 percent of Latino teens believe that parents send one message about sex to their sons and a different message altogether to their daughters, possibly related to the Latino value of machismo.
- Latino teens believe that the most common reason teens do not use contraception is that they are afraid their parents might find out.
They don't want their parents to know they've sexually active... so they eschew contraception and, instead, risk pregnancy. Somehow, I'm guessing those "birds and the bees" talks are less than comprehensive in areas other than strictly comprehension.