Posted on November 11, 2011

Latino Birthrate Is an Unheralded Boon to U.S.

O. Ricardo Pimentel, My San Antonio, November 11, 2011

Perhaps no indicator can say more about a country’s future–or a state’s–than its fertility rate.

A young population and too much fertility can spell failure. But so can too little, as in a population not replacing itself because it’s too old.

This being the case, I’ve had trouble getting my arms around how unwelcome Latinos–who are, demographically speaking, among the most fertile of Americans–have been made to feel in this state and in this country. And I’m not just talking about undocumented immigrants. Immigrants and Latinos aren’t feeling the love these days.


This makes no sense. Were it not for people of color with higher fertility rates–significantly led by Mexicans and Mexican Americans–the United States already would likely be below its population replacement rate. We would be on our way to becoming Russia, whose government is now practically begging its citizens to have babies.

Which is another way of saying America’s theoretical model of inclusion has it right. A good mix makes for good outcomes. We’re all in it together.

The optimum fertility rate is 2.1, a replacement rate that figures that some women of childbearing years will, for whatever reason, not have babies. The United States’ fertility rate, according to the World Factbook, is a decent 2.06. Russia’s is 1.42.

Thank a fertile Latino.


{snip} The Census Bureau estimates that the non-Hispanic white population will contribute nothing to population growth after 2030. It will be declining. After 2030, Latinos will contribute at least 45 percent of national growth.

Welcomed and integrated, replenishment is a gift we give ourselves that other countries will envy. Left to short-sightedness and bitter attitudes of exclusion, well, it’s tantamount to eating our young.