Friday, May 24th, 2013
Teen birth rates have been declining steadily in recent years, but they now have shown marked declines in virtually every U.S. state, especially in the Mountain states and especially among the Hispanic population, according to a new government report. More from The Associated Press:
All states but West Virginia and North Dakota showed significant drops over five years. But the Mountain States of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah saw rates fall by 30 percent or more.
In 22 states, teen Hispanic birth rates plunged at least 40 percent, which was described as “just amazing,” by the report’s lead author, Brady Hamilton of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What’s driving the declines? No one can say for sure. Experts believe the explanation is complicated and probably varies a bit from state to state. The national figure has been falling since 1991, aside from a brief interruption in 2006 and 2007.
The CDC report released Thursday is based on birth certificates for 2007 through 2011. Last year, the CDC announced the overall improvement in teen births: a record low of 31 births per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19. That compares with 42 births per 1,000 five years earlier.
Image: United States map, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
As a growing number of Hispanic families choose to have fewer children, the rate of babies born to Hispanic and Latina woman has declined shortly in recent years, a new report from the Pew Research Center has found. The New York Times has more:
Both immigrant and native-born Latinas had steeper birthrate declines from 2007 to 2010 than other groups, including non-Hispanic whites, blacks and Asians, a drop some demographers and sociologists attribute to changes in the views of many Hispanic women about motherhood.
As a result, in 2011, the American birthrate hit a record low, with 63 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, led by the decline in births to immigrant women. The national birthrate is now about half what it was during the baby boom years, when it peaked in 1957 at 122.7 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age.
The decline in birthrates was steepest among Mexican-American women and women who immigrated from Mexico, at 25.7 percent. This has reversed a trend in which immigrant mothers accounted for a rising share of births in the United States, according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center. In 2010, birthrates among all Hispanics reached their lowest level in 20 years, the center found.
The sudden drop-off, which coincided with the onset of the recession, suggests that attitudes have changed since the days when older generations of Latinos prized large families and more closely followed Roman Catholic teachings, which forbid artificial contraception.
Image: Hispanic mother and children, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012
The childhood obesity rate–still believed to be a nationwide epidemic–is actually dropping in some major U.S. cities, a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has found. More from The New York Times:
“It’s been nothing but bad news for 30 years, so the fact that we have any good news is a big story,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, the health commissioner in New York City, which reported a 5.5 percent decline in the number of obese schoolchildren from 2007 to 2011.
The drops are small, just 5 percent here in Philadelphia and 3 percent in Los Angeles. But experts say they are significant because they offer the first indication that the obesity epidemic, one of the nation’s most intractable health problems, may actually be reversing course.
The first dips — noted in a September report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation — were so surprising that some researchers did not believe them.
Deanna M. Hoelscher, a researcher at the University of Texas, who in 2010 recorded one of the earliest declines — among mostly poor Hispanic fourth graders in the El Paso area — did a double-take. “We reran the numbers a couple of times,” she said. “I kept saying, ‘Will you please check that again for me?’ ”
Researchers say they are not sure what is behind the declines. They may be an early sign of a national shift that is visible only in cities that routinely measure the height and weight of schoolchildren. The decline in Los Angeles, for instance, was for fifth, seventh and ninth graders — the grades that are measured each year — between 2005 and 2010. Nor is it clear whether the drops have more to do with fewer obese children entering school or currently enrolled children losing weight. But researchers note that declines occurred in cities that have had obesity reduction policies in place for a number of years.
Image: Children at school cafeteria, via Shutterstock
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
More Latino families are adopting children or caring for foster children, showing a steady increase each of the past 8 years, a new report has found. More than 15 percent of of all American public agency adoptions were made by Hispanic families in 2010, the report said. NBC Latino reports on the findings, and on the ongoing need for more Latino families to get involved in adoption or foster care:
Latinos have a long history of stepping in when close relatives are not able to raise their child. The AdoptUsKids report described this arrangement as an “informal open adoption.” When agencies make the effort to understand the culture, they are able to help Latinos appreciate the legal option of becoming foster parents. As a result, agencies have found more Latinos are now seeking to make families in formal ways, through adoption. In addition, newcomers who have established themselves in the Unites States try to abide by the system as they understand the rules of the new culture, says Victoria Cerda, Executive Director of the Child Advocacy Resource Association (CARAS).
Advocates for children hope more Latinos consider becoming foster parents or adopting, since recent statistics show an alarming trend. The number of Latino children entering foster care is larger than the number of qualified families who share their language and cultural identity. A factsheet produced by the Casey Latino Leadership Group shows the number of Latino children in the system more than doubled in the past two decades and is likely to continue rising.
The 2010 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System report found that over 84,000 in the foster care system were Latino children – yet only 11,000 were adopted. This has led to ongoing campaigns to recruit more Latino families who are in the position to answer this call from children waiting to be taken in.
Deportation laws also contribute to the growth of Latino children in the foster care system. An investigation of ColorLines – News For Action in November 2011 reported that approximately 5,000 U.S citizen children are in foster care following the detention or deportation of their parents.
“It is estimated that 15,000 other children will be at risk of permanent separation from their families in the next four to five years,” says Cerda.
Child advocates say a familiar language and culture can greatly reduce childhood trauma experienced when children are removed from their birth homes. “Latinos value the importance of ‘taking care of our own’ and strongly believe they are taking care of their community by adopting,” says Quintanilla. “Latinos are a valuable resource.” There are countless benefits when an adopted foster child does not lose his or her cultural identity and is “proud to be Latino,” says Kendra Morris-Jacobson, Director of Oregon Programs for Northwest Resource Associates.
Image: Latina woman and child, via Shutterstock.