The birth rate among young Hispanic women living in the U.S. has hit an historic low, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics and analyzed by the Pew Research Center.
Between 2007 and 2010, the birthrate for all U.S. women of childbearing ages (15-44) dropped by eight percent. Within this very large group, Pew make some interesting discoveries about which groups of women are putting off having children or choosing to have smaller families:
- Birth rates among all foreign-born women living in the US dropped 14%.
- Birth rates among all Mexican-born women living in the US fell by 23%.
That is not a typo--that's 23%, as in, almost one-quarter.
Among U.S.-born women, the birthrates dropped by just six percent.
Foreign-born women do continue to have the most births, at about have as many as U.S.-born mothers.
What's going on here? At first glance, you could assume it's because there are fewer illegal immigrants entering the country. But Pew found that the number of foreign-born women of childbearing age has not fallen all that much.
Rather, it's a combination of economic decision-making and more women using birth control, even those from Catholic countries who consider themselves to be Catholics.
In addition, Hispanic households were hit harder, and longer, by the recession. Bolstered by the easier access to birth control in the US, more Hispanic women opt for smaller families than those they grew up in and avoid the poverty trap, or at least a deeper one than they may have experienced growing up. In addition, the pressure to have large families is not as intense in the U.S. as in their home countries.
While birthrates drop during prolonged recessions, the drop as large as the one seen among Hispanics is not typical, William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, told The New York Times. “You don’t expect Latinos to be at the forefront of the trend.”
In Arizona, the birthrate picture pretty much reflects the national trend. While Hispanics in Arizona have twice the birthrate as non-Hispanic whites, their birthrates numbers have fallen as well. A drop in teen pregnancies--thanks to teen pregnancy prevention programs-- has helped, Sheila Sjolander, assistant director of the Division of Public Health Prevention at the Arizona Department of Health Services, told Cronkite News Service back in October.
In addition, couples are more likely to agree to use birth control, says Ronald Gunderson, an economics professor at Northern Arizona University. “There are periods of time when couples just decide that they don’t want children," Gunderson told Cronkite News.