Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News, December 22, 2021
Covid-19, decreased international immigration and lower fertility rates, including among Latinas, helped drive what the Census Bureau said is a history-making slowdown in the national population growth.
The Census Bureau reported Tuesday that the nation added just 392,665 people, a 0.1 percent growth rate, in the year from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021.
That is the lowest rate since the nation’s founding, the bureau said.
For years, Latinas have had more children per woman than women of all other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.
However, as with women of other racial and ethnic groups, that number has been dropping, said Rogelio Saenz, a professor of demography at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Hispanic women also have seen some of the largest declines in fertility rates.
In 2019, Latinas’ fertility rate was 1.93 children per woman, and for 2020, it was just under 1.87. That’s a significant drop from the 2.1 fertility rate for Latinas about five years ago, Saenz said.
The slowdown of migration from Mexico has been a large reason for the declines. Higher education levels, postponing of marriage and, now, the pandemic are also factors, Saenz said.
Saenz noted that the numbers of foreign-born Latinas in the U.S. and Latinas in childbearing years, 15 to 44 years old, have fallen as Mexican migration has slowed.
But more Hispanic women — 61 percent — are in that childbearing age group, Saenz said, compared to 41 percent among non-Hispanic white women.
The bureau said that in the year between July 1, 2020, and July 1, 2021, net international migration — the difference in the number of people moving into the country and those leaving — exceeded natural increase, which is the number of excess births over deaths.
A total of 244,622 people were added to the U.S. population through net migration in that period, while 148,043 were added through natural increase, the bureau said.