July 14, 2011

The Mexican-American Boom: Births Overtake Immigration

II. Mexican-American Fertility Patterns

U.S. births are disproportionately Hispanic, accounting for one-in-four (25%) of the nation’s newborns in 2008 (Martin, et. al, 2008). U.S. births are also disproportionately Mexican-American. While 10% of the nation’s population in 2008 was Mexican-American, 16% of the nation’s births were to Mexican-American mothers.

Two demographic factors explain the high share of births among Mexican-Americans: age and fertility. On average, Mexican-Americans are younger than other major racial and ethnic groups. The median age of Mexican-Americans in this country is 25, compared with 30 for non-Mexican-origin Hispanics, 32 for blacks, 35 for Asians and 41 for whites.1 This means that a higher share of Mexican-American women is of child-bearing age than is the case for other racial or ethnic groups.

In addition, Mexican-American women have more children than do their same-aged counterparts in other racial and Hispanic origin groups. For example, according to Pew Hispanic Center tabulations from the 2006 to 2010 June Fertility Supplements of the U.S. Current Population Survey, the typical Mexican-American woman ages 40 to 44 has given birth to 2.5 children, compared with 1.9 children for the typical same-aged non-Mexican-Hispanic woman, 1.8 children for the typical same-aged white woman, 2.0 for the typical same-aged black woman and 1.8 for the typical same-aged Asian woman.

Mexican-American fertility is also higher than that of non-Mexican-origin U.S. Hispanics. Across all cohorts ages 20 and older, Mexican-American women have anywhere from about 20% to 50% more children than non-Mexican U.S. Hispanic women.

Among Mexican-American women, fertility differs by immigration status. On average, the typical Mexican immigrant woman ages 40 to 44 has about one-third more children over the course of her lifetime than the typical U.S.-born Mexican-American in the same age group—2.7 versus 2.1.

  1. numoffset=”6″ In this report, white, black and Asian populations include only non-Hispanics who reported a single race. Native Americans and mixed-race groups are not shown. Hispanics can be of any race.