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