The U.S. birth rate dipped in 2011 to the lowest ever recorded, led by a plunge in births to immigrant women since the onset of the Great Recession.
The overall U.S. birth rate, which is the annual number of births per 1,000 women in the prime childbearing ages of 15 to 44, declined 8% from 2007 to 2010. The birth rate for U.S.-born women decreased 6% during these years, but the birth rate for foreign-born women plunged 14%—more than it had declined over the entire 1990-2007 period.1 The birth rate for Mexican immigrant women fell even more, by 23%. …
The fall in the number of births to immigrant women is explained by behavior (falling birth rates), rather than population composition (change in the number of women of childbearing age), according to a Pew Research analysis. Despite a recent drop in unauthorized immigration from Mexico, the largest source country for U.S. immigrants, the Pew Research analysis found no decline in the number of foreign-born women of childbearing age.3
This report does not address the reasons that women had fewer births after 2007, but a previous Pew Research analysis4 concluded that the recent fertility decline is closely linked to economic distress. States with the largest economic declines from 2007 to 2008, as shown by six major indicators, were most likely to experience relatively large fertility declines from 2008 to 2009, the analysis found.
Both foreign- and U.S.-born Hispanic women had larger birth rate declines from 2007 to 2010 than did other groups. Hispanics also had larger percentage declines in household wealth than white, black or Asian households from 2005 to 2009.5 Poverty and unemployment also grew more sharply for Latinos than for non-Latinos after the Great Recession began, and most Hispanics say that the economic downturn was harder on them than on other groups.6