Births, not immigration, account for most of Hispanic growth in last decade
Mexican-American women accounted for 16% of the nation’s births in 2008.
July 14th, 2011
12:01 PM ET

Births, not immigration, account for most of Hispanic growth in last decade

Births have overtaken immigration as the driving force behind the growth of the Mexican-American population in the United States in the past decade, according to a report released Thursday by the Pew Hispanic Center.

The same can be said for the entire Hispanic population of the United States, which grew from 35.3 million in 2000 to 50.5 million in 2010, accounting for 16.3% of the U.S. population, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. About 58% of that growth resulted from births rather than the arrival of new immigrants, the report says.

The trend is most evident among Mexican-Americans, whose numbers grew by 7.2 million as a result of births and 4.2 million from new immigrant arrivals in the past decade, reversing trends from the previous two decades, when the number of new immigrants matched or exceeded the number of births, the report says.

Mexican-Americans are the nation's largest Hispanic group,  at around 31.8 million, or 63% of the U.S. Hispanic population and 10% of the total U.S. population.

In the Pew report, the term Mexican-American applies to people of Mexican origin, regardless of immigration status. The study noted that in 2010, 52% of people of Mexican origin were in the U.S. illegally, and that 68% of births to undocumented aliens were to Mexican nationals.

What's behind the change?

Mexican-Americans are more likely than U.S.-born Americans to be in their prime child-bearing years, and they also have higher fertility rates, the report says. Another significant factor is a steep decline in Mexican immigration to the United States in recent years.

Hispanic births accounted for 25% of the nation’s newborns in 2008, the report says, citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. 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.

White children in the minority in 10 states

Meanwhile, the number of new immigrants arriving from Mexico fell by 60% between 2006 and 2010 because of declining job opportunities in the U.S., increased border enforcement and economic growth in Mexico, the report says, citing a previous Pew Hispanic Center study of Mexican immigration trends.

Age and fertility explain the high share of births among Mexican-Americans, the report says. On average, Mexican-Americans are younger than other major racial and ethnic groups, with a median age of 25, compared with 30 for non-Mexican-origin Hispanics and 41 for whites.

Mexican-American women also have more children than their counterparts in other racial and Hispanic origin groups. The typical Mexican-American woman between 40 and 44 has given birth to 2.5 children, compared with 2.3 children for the typical same-aged Hispanic woman and 1.8 children for the typical same-aged white woman, according to Pew Hispanic Center tabulations from the 2006 to 2010 June Fertility Supplements of the U.S. Current Population Survey.

The Hispanic share of the population is projected to rise from 16.3% in 2010 to 29% by the middle of this century, with the bulk of the future increase driven by births rather than the arrival of new immigrants, the report says.

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Filed under: Census
soundoff (1,115 Responses)
  1. The Informant

    I've worked with Mexicans in restaurants and construction, so I have no problems with letting people in this country who want to work and contribute. They also (the legal ones) pay into social security that they will never receive. Nobody wanted the Italians or irish here either, but they did just fine. I would agree that we can't continue to have an endless supply of taxpayer money going to support anchor babies. The illegals are not figured into census information, so budgets will always come up short for money. I think America needs to do some serious healing internally before we decide to be too charitable. The Italians or Irish immigrants didn't get state money for their kids, so they actually had to work in order to feed/clothe their kids. We need to find a balance between xenophobia and common sense, or good accounting practices.

    July 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Liana nieves

    1St off im of mexican, puerto rican, spanish, aztec indian & french ancestry. i understand every1s p.o.v. my great grandma came 2 the u.s. as well as my great grandpa both from mexico. my great grandpa worked in a bread factory til he was in his 60s. my great grandma worked her ass off as a homemaker, taking care of the elderly. she retired wen she went blind in 1 eye bout 5yrs ago. im a 3rd generation american. my great grandparents didnt come here & reep the benefits as illegals they did all the neccessary work 2 get legal citizenship. they own 2 homes, 1 in which is in texas where their daughter lives. my only problem with illegals is if they want legal citizenship then they need 2 do all they can 2 get their visa. if they dont wana make the effort 2 speak english then send their ass back. my great grandparents can speak english wit their thick accents & can sumwat read in english as well. i feel as tho the illegal immigrats shld kno how 2 speak english, read it, spell it.

    July 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruja

      "i feel as tho the illegal immigrats shld kno how 2 speak english, read it, spell it."

      I feel you should, too.

      July 14, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Angels4life

    Lol wow so First all u racist were goin againts illegals and now ur goin after the legal ones l, it's a shame people like you live in this country. I guess ur to scared to go against the blacks so your goin after the vulnerable ones but it's ok cause legal or illegal were gonna fight back against racism

    July 14, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patriot1980

      This isn't about race, this is about immigrants coming to this country illegally and reaping the benefits without paying for them first. Any person with half a lick of sense can see that our economy can not support the millions of people who take from the system but have never paid in to it. The fact that you make this about race just shows your ignorance.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Veronica

      It's not racist to protect your homeland from leaches!

      July 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. heather

    so if all the illegal mexican mothers became legal, all the american fathers will have to pay child support. there is the real problem

    July 14, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • sadiedog

      don't give them any ideas

      July 14, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jjzvava

    you people sound like the nazi's this is the kind of mentality that came up with concentration camps and the kkk

    July 14, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dontworryboutmyname

    They breed like roaches.....we should adopt Chinas 1 child policy...

    July 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Liana nieves

    Illegals shld do all they can 2 become legal. if they refuse then its a big slap in the face 2 all those europeans, latinos, arabs,asians, etc who came here & did wat they needed 2 b legal & make sumthing of themselves. my husbands great grandparents on his grandpas side immigrated from sweden & became legal . y cant illegals do the same?

    July 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AJ

    It will take 2-3 generations before Mex-Americans assimilate, some families may sooner. Same as with the Italians and Irish in the past. I agree some abuse the system, but MANY are hard working men and women here to make a living paying plenty of taxes.

    July 14, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gulises

    why are people always hating on mexicans

    July 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • dontworryboutmyname

      Becuz they r a drain on there unwanted in this country we just tolerate them.

      July 14, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ok boy

      Yeah you tolerate them because they do all the hard labor you white educated people don't want to do. Think about it. Your white ass high school boys and college students aren't go to hit the fields and pick vegetables. To pay your bills you rather hit the unemployment lines.

      July 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dontworryboutmyname

    Sterilize these ppl

    July 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bribarian

    This is how an empire dies.

    July 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Emerson

    And IF our Medicaid and all those good benefits our government offers should be fixed by strickter rules or obolished our government is to big!!!!

    July 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. texas gun owner

    Illegals need to stop coming over the border just to have a "US born baby" that is bull****. If you want to come to America, do it LEGALLY, don't sneak in and try to live for FREE and waste US tax dollars that could actually go to something useful. Coming to America and not working is robbing all the hard earned money everyone else makes. We have kids too, no one helps us....WE DID IT OURSELF,YOU CAN TOO, I don't mind people coming to America but please do it legally.....whites don't sneak into Mexico unless there a convicted felon or on the run

    July 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dmg

    I lived in a section 8 complex. The illegals have moved into every available space and started having babies at a rate of one a year...that way they get an increase in their monthly welfare checks and food stamps...I don't know one family that had one wage earner. The illegals know once they get accross the boarder of Mexico they don't ever have to work again, our government will pay them monthly, feed them, educate their children, and give them a home...why would they even consider working or leaving.

    July 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. @Emerson

    They don't need a SS# to get their checks. For an "investment advisor", your're awfully dim.

    July 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
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