NICARAGUA: Single Moms as Heads of the Families

NICARAGUA (Central America)                                   

Population: 5.7 million

Male/Female Ratio:   0.96 male /female

Fertility Rate:  6.9 children/woman (1970s) vs. 2.6 children/woman (2010)

Life Expectancy:  54  years (1970) vs. 74 years (2010) 

Infant mortality:  21.86 deaths / 1000 live births

Major Religions:  Roman Catholicism, Protestants

– One third of all households in Nicaragua are single-mother families. 

– One in four childbirths in the country is by a teenage mom age 15-19.  Twenty-seven percent of all female Nicaraguan adolescent girls between 15 and 19 are either pregnant or have given birth – this is highest teenage pregnancy rate in all of Latin America and the Caribbean. 

– Every 20 minutes a Nicaraguan woman or girl falls victim to domestic violence or sexual abuse.   In 2011, 370,000 women in Nicaragua reported being victims of domestic or sexual violence – 57 times higher than the World Health Organization’s definition of an epidemic. 

–   Nicaragua is one of a tiny handful of countries that ban abortion under all circumstances.  The law allowed for no exceptions.  All abortion remained a criminal offense and anyone seeking, or assisting someone seeking, an abortion risked prosecution.

– 73% of women in union currently use contraception.

–  48% of Nicaraguans live below the poverty line.  80% of the population lives with less than $2 per day.  It is the second-poorest country in Latin America after Haiti.

– One million Nicaraguans have left the country to escape poverty and unemployment. 

–  Sex education has been introduced in the curricula by the Ministry of Education in 2008. 

–   Latin American cervical cancer rates are among the highest in the world; the cancer rate in Nicaragua is the second highest in Latin America.


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