Hispanic Birthrate Dips in Arizona

Ronald J. Hansen, The Voice of Tucson, September 1, 2011

Hispanic women in Arizona are having children at a significantly lower rate than in past decades, which could slow overall population growth if the trend continues, according to new state and federal data.

Hispanic birthrates and net migration into the state have contributed heavily to the state’s rapid population growth. The decline in the Hispanic birthrate from 2000 to 2010, coupled with an overall drop, already has demographers contemplating scaled-back projections for the state’s future population. Those projections are used for planning an array of services from schools to roads and housing.

From roughly 2000 to 2010, total fertility rates for Hispanic women declined from 3.0 births per woman to 2.4, according to the Arizona State Demographer’s Office. The drop was most pronounced for Hispanic women younger than 20 years old. Birthrates for Hispanic women 35 years and older increased slightly but are a relatively small portion of total births.

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Experts cite various reasons for the decline.

Carlos Vlez-Ibez, director of the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University, said the trend is an extension of a pattern that began in Mexico and is likely occurring in other U.S. states. As more Mexicans moved from the rural areas to cities and became more educated, they tended to have fewer children and the birth rate declined. Most Hispanics in Arizona are of Mexican descent.

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Between 1960 and 1965, there were 6.75 births per Mexican woman, according to data from the United Nations. By the 1990-95 period, that had fallen to 3.19, the U.N. reports.

Assimilation also could be a factor as birthrates for Hispanics with multiple generations in the U.S. are beginning to mirror those of the country as a whole.

But Vlez-Ibez rejects the idea that assimilation alone explains the decline. He said that as in other countries like Mexico, as Hispanics become more educated and more affluent and as divorce rates creep up, their long-term birthrates will keep falling.

“In 20 to 25 years, you’ll have replacement rate (births), and that’s about it,” Vlez-Ibez said.

Arizona averaged more than 2 percent annual growth in the past decade. About 40 percent of it was driven by natural changes from births and deaths. The remaining 60 percent was affected by net migration from other states and nations. {snip}

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Births among non-Hispanic women under 20 also declined in 2010, contributing to the overall decline in birthrates. The birthrate for all Arizona women fell from about 2.4 per woman in 2000 to 2.1 in 2010.

The declining birthrates in Arizona are similar to changes playing out nationwide. The 2010 census showed that population gains over the decade were the smallest since the Great Depression. Many demographers suspect the economic downturn was a key factor, with families postponing or limiting having children for financial reasons.

Census reports show the national birthrate for Hispanic women had been lower than in Arizona but was drifting higher near the end of the past decade even as Arizona’s birthrate was likely flat or falling.

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  • Brendan

    If you look at the national statistics, the drop actually didn’t start until 2007, when the recession hit. So, 3.0 down to 2.4 from 2007 to 2010. It would appear that the Great Recession may be our salvation on the Hispanic front, since the white birth rate has dropped much less and, at least in Arizona, has actually gone up in the last few months.

  • Anonymous

    From the article: “… which could slow overall population growth if the trend continues…”: This article would be the precursor to the next “financial disaster” story, where a drop in the population will cause a crushing depression. we’ll all be pushed to ever lower levels of poverty.

  • BannerRWB

    From the article: “…which could slow overall population growth if the trend continues…”: Watch for tomorrow’s news story about the huge financial crisis a drop in the population will cause. That will then be the reason to import thousands of Somali Muslims (since they have a high birth rate) into Arizona in order to “save” the State. This is the lesson Arizona has been tagged to learn: mess with letting in Hispanics and we’ll come up with some other way to destroy your state.

  • Anonymous

    Hispanics want a good quality of life too, the American Dream. Their floor isn’t much lower than a white’s, and it’s rising, and they will stop having children in response to economic pressures.

    Muslims, surprisingly, are also showing remarkable reproductive restraint in this latest generation. African blacks remain the last greatly fertile population in the world.

    Interesting times.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, these women are now going to California, New Mexico, Colorado.

  • Morgan

    How about an invisible border fence that makes you go sterile if you don’t cross at an authorized checkpoint? That would make hispanic birthrates drop.

  • Bill R

    Orwell-speak. WE all know the birth rate dropped because Arizona got tougher on illegal immigrants, so they fled back home, or to other states. But our dogmatic masters and the media spin it to seem like a bad thing, population decrease, and imply only MORE immigration from the third world is the solution. Frankly, this country will never get back on it’s feet until there is a drastic population decrease of hispanics and black immigrants, both legal and illegal. Nor will this country ever get back on it’s feet relying on the Democratic traitors, or the Stupid Party treason neo-cons. A total revamping of our laws, our politics, and our government BACK to at least the 50’s era is necessary. Pre-1965 immigration laws. Pre-Roe vs Wade. Pre-abolition of Jim Crow laws. Pre-NAFTA. Pre-“nation building” wars.

  • Anonymous

    Well it’s gone down from 3.0 to 2.4 and that’s good news. Maybe one day we’ll be blessed and their birth rate in the USA will drop to 0.0

  • Anonymous

    Many demographers suspect the economic downturn was a key factor, with families postponing or limiting having children for financial reasons.

    —————————————

    What kind of lies are they spreading now? Who are these so-called “demographers”? They just want White America to THINK their numbers are dropping. Isn’t this their game plan?

    Since when did “hispanics” EVER stop reproducing due to financial reasons or any other “reason”? That’s a laugh. WE White taxpayers support them anyway and have been for decades now.

    Anyway, I thought we were told hispanics left AZ in droves for greener pastures? Could THAT be the reason they are having less children in AZ? They are having them in CA and other places.

  • Fed Up

    Sounds like driving Arizona’s contingent of illegal immigrants out of the state — is PAYING OFF for Arizona taxpayers!

  • Anonymous

    Latin America has started the same depopulation process that Europe, China, Japan and the rest of far east. Total fertility rate in Mexico is below US level (2.1 children for female), Brazil is even lower with 1.75, Cuba has lowest in western hemisphere (1.35) and is fast depopulating itself. Same story is in many Asian and muslim countries. Cheap birth control drugs manufactured in India are flooding third world. In India, only name of the drug can be patented, not method of production.

  • Angry Bird

    @#1 Anon

    Well it’s gone down from 3.0 to 2.4 and that’s good news. Maybe one day we’ll be blessed and their birth rate in the USA will drop to 0.0.

    Maybe one day we’ll be blessed and white births will rise from ~ 1.84 to at least 2.1 which is replacement level.

  • Anonymous

    We are sometimes assured that immigration isn’t a threat because immigrant fertility drops to match white fertility within a generation or so. I am skeptical about this claim, but it doesn’t really matter; if the immigrant birth level comes down, this will be advanced as an argument for bringing in more ‘fresh’ immigrants, to make up the imaginary population shortfall and ensure that we will still have enough new immigrants to ‘do the jobs Americans won’t do’, ‘pay takes to maintain our social programs’, etc. etc.