U.S., Georgia birth rates dip — especially for Hispanics

The U.S. birthrate has hit a record low with Hispanic women having the deepest decline of any group from 2007 to 2010.  While birth rates generally decline during hard economic times, demographers and sociologists think the numbers may reflect a change in how Hispanic women view motherhood.

From The AJC:

“The country’s birth rate dropped 8 percent between 2007 and 2010 and now stands at 1920-era levels, a Pew Research Center report has found.”

“Researchers said births to U.S.-born women have been on a steady decline since 1990, but the rates had held virtually steady because of babies born to immigrant mothers. But during the past five years, birth rates — the annual number of births per 1,000 women — fell among all groups, with the biggest decreases among Mexican-born women.”

“The trend holds true in Georgia, which saw birth rates drop from 48.3 to 41.9 between 2007 and 2010, state data show. The nation’s birth rate is now 64 births per 1,000 women, according to 2010 data.”

From The New York Times:

“The decline in birthrates was steepest among Mexican-American women and women who immigrated from Mexico, at 25.7 percent. This has reversed a trend in which immigrant mothers accounted for a rising share of births in the United States, according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center. In 2010, birthrates among all Hispanics reached their lowest level in 20 years, the center found. …”

“Prolonged recessions do produce dips in the birthrate, but a drop as large as Latinos have experienced is atypical, said William H. Frey, a sociologist and demographer at the Brookings Institution. “It is surprising,” Mr. Frey said. “When you hear about a decrease in the birthrate, you don’t expect Latinos to be at the forefront of the trend….”

“But to Mr. Frey, the decrease has signaled much about the aspirations of young Latinos to become full and permanent members of the upwardly mobile middle class, despite the challenges posed by the struggling economy. “

From The AJC:

“Dr. Andrew Dott, head of the Norcross-based prenatal clinic CIMA, agrees with Azuri that immigration law changes played into the dropping birth rates among Hispanic women. But he’s noticed another trend during the past several years: a change in cultural attitudes toward family size. The majority of CIMA’s patients are Hispanic, he noted. And Mexican-born patients in particular, he said, are downsizing.”

“I have seen smaller Mexican families than what they were 10 years ago, and that reflects the trend going on in Mexico,” said Dott, whose clinic saw a 30 percent drop in the number of births between 2007 and 2011. “We are not seeing as many women who have lots of babies — four, five, six or seven. We’re seeing more of the ones, twos and threes.”

So what do you think: Will birth rates rebound with as the economy improves? Will the Hispanic birth rate stay lower? What do you think of the idea of sociological shift for Hispanic women and not just an economic one?

11 comments Add your comment

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 2nd, 2013
11:19 am

This was supposed to pop up at midnight last night but i had the 24-hour clock set wrong – sorry!! Two new topics for today — another will pop up after 2 — sorry!!


January 2nd, 2013
11:45 am

I read this in the paper today and said HMMM. This will affect my bottom line, as I work with children when they head to PreK and Kinder. Many Childcare Centers and Preschools are struggling, as there are so many who are out of work and thus do not need care.

One place I visited, told me that they work with the parents to keep their child in the center one day each week. This will hold a spot and provide some continuity for the child. Also, give the parent a day to go visit potential employers. I thought this was a great idea!

I LOVE children but do not understand the appeal of a large family, in today’s world. My Grandmother and my husband’s Grandmother both came from large families but that was in the early 1900s. My husband has 3 siblings and I have 2. Kids need so much more today and they just get more expensive as they get older.

I am delighted to learn that my son has just signed a contract with a nice paycheck as a Pharmacist. He has 4 months left of rotations before he graduates. He is on the home stretch and I am pretty sure he will make it! One off of our payroll and one left :).

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 2nd, 2013
11:54 am

MJG – that’s awesome about you son — what a relief to know he is gainfully employed!! that is sooo exciting!!

I am fascinated by the cultural implications — the NYT guy was very interesting about how Latinas are viewing their personal growth and goals and lots of kids just aren’t in that picture. It’s also interesting that the rate dropped not just from Hispanic immigrants but also in their home countries.


January 2nd, 2013
12:21 pm

Less babies is always good. Hooray for the IUD.


January 2nd, 2013
12:44 pm

All things are cyclical. Economies, housing markets, and yes birth rates. Thus at some point they will come up but the question is how much.

What I find facinating is we keep letting ____________ policiticans pass all kinds of spending bills ($6 Trillion anyone?) that are going to be paid by future generations….it looks like that future generation is going to be much smaller than the current ones…So that is just STUPID SPENDING POLICY. We need smarter people running things.


January 2nd, 2013
12:54 pm

jarvis: less babies is NOT always good. Countries with declining birth rates and aging populations have HUGE problems. The work force needs to be replaced every generation, and people need to support their elders. Even if it is not directly. If you don’t have people at least replacing themselves, pretty soon you will have an upside down population pyramid and that is not a good thing.


January 2nd, 2013
1:12 pm

Not exactly the same topic but I read this in the paper a while back. I have been to ND several times and it is COLD there in the winter but there are plenty of jobs for those who want to work and they told me they were paying $15 an hour ( mid day) at Taco Bell, to keep up with the demand for workers who need lunch. Interesting!



January 2nd, 2013
2:38 pm

I would think latinas are experiencing a bit of independence in their choices just as American women have in the past few decades. And most also face the same issues as mothers in America; dwindling resources with which to raise those children. Couple that with the fact that they can’t just bring their mom into the country for extended periods to help raise all the children and well, having 5 or 6 children isn’t so easy anymore.

My guess is that these numbers will rebound a bit as the economy improves but I doubt they will return to same level as a decade ago.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 2nd, 2013
2:50 pm

Techmom — Well said — I think that is a fascinating shift of these women finding their independence and increasing their education levels and job levels — very interesting.

K's Mom

January 2nd, 2013
4:40 pm

What I find interesting is the number of well educated, caucasian women having 4+ children. I have seen it a lot recently in Atlanta and the smaller college town where we moved. I did some home staging for a woman about 18 months ago who was pregnant with her fourth, was 37 and told me she was not finished. I saw a woman in Hobby Lobby recently with 6 daughters and a 7th in a sling. She looked like a zombie. I think this a trend for a some from a religious perspective and I think some women who give up their careers get bored and a baby every 2 years fills a strange void. I think if folks can afford it, it is none of my business, but I just seem to see more very large families now than I did when I was growing up in the 80’s.


January 2nd, 2013
6:47 pm

@mom2alex&max, that is a very short sighted view on population growth. The support of one generation hardly compares to the problems we will face if the world continues to multiply at its current rate.

The world’s population was 2.5 billion in 1950. At current growth rates it is projected to be just over 10 billion by 2100. That would be 400% growth in 150 years. The planet and its resources cannot sustain that growth.