Family and Fertility in Puerto Rico: A Study of the Lower Income Group

By J. Mayone Stycos | Go to book overview

IX
The Dynamics of Birth-Control Use

Sometimes they are desperate, unemployed, and with many children. That is the Puerto Rican problem. Sometimes they have many children and give them to their relatives. They distribute four and keep two, because they aren't able to support them all.

There are also men who leave their wives after they have four children. It is because they are not able to support them. They think they can solve the problem by leaving the wife.

Many have the saying that where one eats, many can eat, but that is not true. Some would like to avoid having children, but they do not do it because they are lazy. They stay in bed, and because they don't want the trouble of getting up for a while, they do not avoid children. When the wife gets pregnant, they don't know what to do. A MALE RESPONDENT

THE EXTENT OF BIRTH-CONTROL PRACTICES

One source of information on birth-control use in Puerto Rico is the data on numbers attending the prematernal clinics. In 1945 the total number of active cases (defined as those which return more or less regularly for supplies) was 14,120. In 1950 this figure was 22,055, an increase of 56 percent. Table 37 shows the number of contraceptives distributed for these years.1

The five-year period has brought about an increase of about 50 percent in total contraceptive units distributed. Whereas the number of condoms has increased by only 13.6 percent, diaphragms show an increase of 274.0 percent, and jelly, not distributed in 1945, was the second most popular method in 1950.2

____________________
1
From Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Health, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
2
Actually, the proportions of different methods distributed may reflect department policy as much as "popularity" of method. Diaphragms and jelly (especially Preceptin in 1950) have received special emphasis in the clinics.

-217-

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Family and Fertility in Puerto Rico: A Study of the Lower Income Group
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Contents xi
  • Tables xiii
  • Figures xvii
  • I- Introduction 3
  • II- Differential Status Ideologies of the Sexes 29
  • III- Child-Rearing Practices 37
  • Conclusions 58
  • IV- Courtship 60
  • Conclusions 85
  • V- Early Marriage and Consensual Union 87
  • Conclusions 120
  • VI- Marital Relations 122
  • VII- Attitudes toward Fertility- The Fertility Belief System 158
  • Summary 180
  • VIII- Attitudes toward Birth Control 182
  • IX- The Dynamics of Birth-Control Use 217
  • X- Summary and Recommendations 242
  • Concluding Remarks 254
  • Appendix A- Methodology 256
  • Appendix B- Respondent Characteristics 293
  • Appendix C- The Construction of Indices 297
  • Appendix D- Interview Forms 300
  • Appendix E- Categories for File Index of Selected Quotations 315
  • List of Works Cited 316
  • Index 323
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