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.
“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.”
“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. “
“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?