Socio-cultural predictors of teenage pregnancy in South Africa: A crosssectional study that compares rural and urban areas
South Africa remains a country affected by teenage pregnancy accompanied by health, economic and social consequences. This study investigates the residential-specific socio-cultural predictors of teenage pregnancy in South Africa. Data were collected from the 2016 Community Survey conducted by Statistics South Africa, while methods included univariate and bivariate analysis as well as logistic regression to establish the association between socio- cultural factors and teenage pregnancy among rural and urban adolescent women, respectively. Results show that of the 336 244 adolescent women constituting the sample, 4% reported being pregnant. Teenage pregnancy occurred at higher levels in rural areas (4.57%) compared with urban areas (3.43%) with a significant χ2 p-value=0.000. Bivariate analysis revealed significant differences across all variable categories at p<0.05. Furthermore, socio- cultural factors associated with teenage pregnancy were religion [no religious belief odds ratio (OR)=1.27; p-value<0.01], ethnicity (English-speaking young women OR=0.39; pvalue<0.01) and age (OR=1.59; p-value<0.01). Ethnicity and religion had a greater influence in urban areas than in rural areas. These results could be useful in designing appropriate programmes to prevent teenage pregnancy, specifically among target groups at higher risk. Residential-specific community-based awareness programmes should be promoted to prevent teenage pregnancy in both urban and rural areas if sexual and reproductive health among adolescent girls is to improve in South Africa.