This article explores race differences in the desire to avoid pregnancy or become pregnant using survey data from a random sample of 914 young women (ages 18-22) living in a Michigan county and semi-structured interviews with a subsample of 60 of the women. In the survey data, desire for pregnancy, indifference, and ambivalence are very rare but are more prevalent among Black women than White women. In the semi-structured interviews, although few women described fatalistic beliefs or lack of planning for future pregnancies, Black and White women did so equally often. Women more often described fatalistic beliefs and lack of planning when retrospectively describing their past than when prospectively describing their future. Using the survey data to compare prospective desires for a future pregnancy with women's recollections of those desires after they conceived, more Black women shifted positive than shifted negative, and Black women were more likely to shift positive than White women-that is, Black women do not differentially retrospectively overreport prospectively desired pregnancies as having been undesired before conception. Young women's consistent (over repeated interviews) prospective expression of strong desire to avoid pregnancy and correspondingly weak desire for pregnancy, along with the similarity of Black and White women's pregnancy plans, lead us to conclude that a "planning paradigm"-in which young women are encouraged and supported in implementing their pregnancy desires-is probably appropriate for the vast majority of young women and, most importantly, is similarly appropriate for Black and White young women.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Barber, Jennifer S.; Guzzo, Karen Benjamin; Budnick, Jamie; Kusunoki, Yasamin; and Miller, Warren, "Black-White Differences in Pregnancy Desire During the Transition to Adulthood" (2021). Sociology Faculty Publications. 55.
Duke University Press
Start Page No.
End Page No.