Posted on August 9, 2019

Hispanic Women No Longer Account for the Majority of Immigrant Births in the U.S.

Gretchen Livingston, Pew Research Center, August 8, 2019


Among immigrant women, half of all births in 2018 were to women of Hispanic origin, down from 58% in 2000. At the same time, births to Asian women accounted for about one-in-four immigrant births last year (24%), up from 19% in 2000. The share of immigrant births to black women also rose during this span, from 7% to 11%.

Much of the downturn in the share of immigrant births to Hispanics has been driven by a decline in births among Mexican-origin women. A quarter of immigrant births in the U.S. were to women of Mexican origin in 2018, compared with 42% in 2000. {snip}

{snip} Hispanics account for a growing share of births among U.S.-born women. In 2018, 17% of births to the U.S. born were to women of Hispanic origin, up from 10% in 2000. This growth was driven primarily by the rapid expansion of the U.S.-born Hispanic population as a whole: The number of Hispanic women ages 15 to 44 has more than doubled since 2000, for instance.


Looking at all births in the U.S. last year – {snip} – just over half (53%) were to white women, down from 59% in 2000. The share of births to Hispanic women ticked up to 24% from 20%. Meanwhile, 15% of births were to black women and 7% were to Asian women, mostly unchanged from 2000.

Shifts in immigration streams and birth rates

The declining share of immigrant births to Hispanic women is due in part to declines in immigration from Latin America, especially Mexico.

{snip} Since 2010, the primary origin region has been Asia, which helps explain the growing share of immigrant births to Asian women. At the same time, growing immigration from Africa and parts of the Caribbean has led to an increase in black immigrants, which in turn has fueled almost all of the rise in births for this group.

{snip} Since 2000, the number of births per 1,000 Hispanic immigrant women of childbearing age fell 25% – from 109.7 births to 82.3 in 2017 (the most recent year for which data is available). The birth rate of Hispanic immigrant women, which used to be far higher than the rates of all other non-Hispanic immigrant groups, is now lower than that of white immigrant women, though it remains higher than those of black and Asian immigrants.

A key factor driving down U.S. birth rates among Hispanic immigrant women has been the 37% decline in rates among women born in Mexico, from 131.8 in 2000 to 83.0 in 2017. The birth rate among Asian immigrant women declined much more modestly during the same period, from 71.7 to 67.2 births per 1,000 women, while rates for white and black immigrant women ticked up.

Like their foreign-born counterparts, U.S.-born Hispanic women have seen dramatic declines in birth rates. In 2000, there were 77.4 annual births per 1,000 U.S.-born Hispanic women of childbearing age; by 2017, that rate had dropped 25% to 57.9. During the same period, U.S.-born black women experienced a 14% decline in birth rates, while declines were minimal among other groups.

Birth rates remain highest among foreign-born women

The overall U.S. birth rate has declined 9% since 2000, to a record low of 60.2 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in 2017. The birth rate hit a short-term peak of 69.3 in 2007 and has declined almost continuously since then.