According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, the birth rate in the United States dropped in 2011 to the lowest point ever recorded, partially due to a plunge in births among immigrant women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the birth rate dropped to 63.2 per 1,000 women in prime child bearing ages in 2011.
It's no secret that the Great Recession has played a role. The Pew Research Center found that while the birth rate for women born in the United States declined by 6 percent between the beginning of the recession in 2007 and 2010, the rate for foreign-born women decreased by a full 14 percent during the same period of time.
In fact, the birth rate among women from Mexico, where the highest number of immigrants come from, dropped by 23 percent. The Pew Research Center reported that that the sharp decline in birth rates among immigrant women correlated with the recession-induced declines in household wealth among the immigrant population.
"If you apply the common sense lens here, when it comes to decisions about when to have children, how many and how to space them, the economy clearly matters," a spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy said. However, he said that there are many other factors that also play an important role in family planning.
Up until recently, immigrant mothers were responsible for a rising share of births in the United States. For example, in 2007, 25 percent of births in the United States were by foreign-born mothers, compared to just 16 percent in 1990. However, in 2010, only 23 percent of births were by foreign-born mothers.
Even so, the Pew Research Center's report projected that population growth in the United States will continue to be heavily affected by immigrants. By 2050, it estimated that 82 percent of the country's population growth will be made up of those who have entered the country since 2005 and their descendants.
Source: CNN, "Immigrants lead plunge in U.S. birth rate," Moni Basu, Nov. 29, 2012