Previous studies report that neighborhood characteristics influence pregnancy and childbearing risk among African-American adolescent women. These studies, however, leave unidentified the effects of many neighborhood properties on the proximate determinants of nonmarital fertility. In this study I examine the effects of neighborhood characteristics on the risk of nonmarital first intercourse and on contraceptive use among black female adolescents. The results suggest that neighborhood socioeconomic status, female employment and marital dissolution rates, and peers’ departure from mainstream lifecourse trajectories influence young black women’s sexual and contraceptive behavior. The effects of female employment and socioeconomic status are greater for teens in urban neighborhoods than for teens living elsewhere.

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