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Surprising results from birth rate study

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 30th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Birth rates in America have been declining, particularly since the start of the Great Recession. However the Pew Research Foundation has found an unexpected twist in the figures. It turns out that the greatest decline in birth rates are for immigrant women.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In 2011, women between 15 and 44, the ages the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consider prime childbearing years, had fewer children than ever before in recorded history. Only 62.2 percent out of every 1,000 women in the United States had children.

Women born in the U.S. saw their birth rates decline by 6 percent from 2007 to 2010, and surprisingly, birth rates for foreign-born women declined by 14 percent. This is an unexpected change from the norm, which has long shown foreign-born women enjoying higher birth rates than the native-born.

Women from Mexico, the source of more U.S. immigrants than any other country, saw a staggering decline of 23 percent.

It's no surprise that the dip in the birth rate matches the dip in the economy. In lean times, women tend to have fewer children and space the ones they do have farther apart.

However, the data suggests the problem is more acute in immigrant households, and most acute for Hispanics, who have also seen the largest percentage group in income than any other subset of the American population.

There are other factors to consider as well.

Nuptial ages are becoming older as more people wait to get married. Also, the teen birthrate is almost half of what it was at its peak in 1991.

Unfortunately, the increasingly ready availability of contraception, abortifacients, and the practice of abortion are also taking their toll.

People are certainly not less active than they were before the recession, however, they are much more reluctant to facilitate new life.

The Pew study still projects the American population to increase and for immigrants to lead that increase overall. However, the recent decline was unexpected, even if a bit unsurprising in hindsight.

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