A report from rural Costa Rica.


This report provides findings from interviews conducted among single mothers and other community members from Monteverde, Costa Rica in 1995. Costa Rica has experienced recent, rapid fertility decline. The population still includes 33% who are under 15 years old and capable of adding to population increases. The sample of single mothers includes women who were never married, or those who were divorced, widowed, or separated. This group of mothers contends with primary headship and decision making in family affairs and with social stigma from being single mothers. Many employers discriminate against single mothers in hiring. Single mothers were concerned about making enough money to pay for basic items, such as rent, food, and child care. Some worried about the lack of a father's love and discipline. All sample respondents stated that it was important to plan the number and timing of childbearing. The single mothers were familiar with several modern and traditional methods of contraception. Few pregnancies were planned. Most were mistrustful of the effectiveness and safety of modern contraceptives. The negative attitudes were attributed to religious influences, misinformation, or lack of information. High school sex education provides information about biological reproduction, sexually transmitted diseases, and methods of contraception. One instructor said that she recommends rhythm as the safest and best method. The only other source of information about family planning is the clinic. Little information is directed to unmarried girls and or male responsibility. The community organization that sponsored the survey is working to empower women and decrease social discrimination against single mothers. The author recommends improved information dissemination on sexuality, reproductive health, and contraception and improved access of unmarried teens to contraceptives.

Cite this paper

@article{Fishel1997ARF, title={A report from rural Costa Rica.}, author={J Fishel}, journal={ZPG reporter}, year={1997}, volume={29 1}, pages={10} }