Birth Rate Decline Greatest Among Immigrants, U.S. Falls to a Record Low

Latinas may not be ready for motherhood due to current economic conditions.

Latinas may not be ready for motherhood due to current economic conditions.  (Getty)

Women, particularly Latinas, are having fewer babies in the U.S.

According to new analysis of government data by the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project, the U.S. birth rate dipped in 2011 to the lowest ever recorded. This is led by a plunge in births among immigrant women that started in 2008, with the Great Recession.

Both foreign and U.S.-born Latinas had larger birth rate declines from 2007 to 2010 than other groups. While the report did not address specific reasons for the drop, researchers did reveal some potential clues on why more women are feeling they may not be ready for motherhood quite yet.

Hispanics had larger percentage declines in household wealth than white, black or Asian households from 2005 to 2009. Poverty and unemployment also grew more sharply among the Latino community than for other groups after the Great Recession began in 2008. Many Hispanics stated the economic downturn was harder on them than on other groups.

And while there was a recent drop in unauthorized immigration from Mexico, recognized as “the largest source country for U.S. immigrants,” the analysis did not find a decline in the number of foreign-born women of childbearing age (15 to 44). Even so, the birth rate for Mexican immigrant women fell by 23 percent.

The overall birth rate is the annual number of births per 1,000 women. From 2007 to 2010, the overall birth rate declined by 8 percent.

Among mothers of newborns overall in 2010, slightly more than half (54 percent) were white.

“The number of U.S. births, which had been rising since 2002, fell abruptly after 2007 —a decrease also led by immigrant women,” states the data.

The new report was created to further study fertility patterns of foreign-born and U.S.-born women. 

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