While nonmarital childbearing has increased for all groups, there was a substantial decrease in the percentage of births to young teen mothers for almost all groups between 1980 and 2000. However, the decline was smaller for most Hispanic subgroups compared with whites and blacks. In 2000, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and other Hispanic infants were more likely than Cuban and Central/South American infants to have a teenage mother. The figures for the former groups are more similar to that of blacks, while those for the latter are similar to that of whites.9

Foreign-born Hispanic women have higher fertility than their native-born counterparts and non-Hispanic women. In the second generation Hispanic women’s fertility drops significantly. For example, on average, second-generation Mexican women have 2.1 children, while immigrant Mexican women have 2.7.10 Intergenerational increases in educational attainment for women seem to account for some of the decline in Mexican women’s fertility across generations.

Although in recent years immigration has edged out fertility as the chief component of Hispanic population growth, the reverse may soon be true because of the swelling second generation resulting from immigrant fertility. If it is assumed that immigration will continue its current gradual increase, births are likely to surpass immigration as the principal component driving Hispanic population growth because the number of Hispanic women of childbearing age will have grown significantly.11 This scenario is probable even with the declining birth rates of U.S.-born Hispanic women compared to immigrant Hispanic women. As Figure 2-1 shows, this source of demographic momentum is projected to continue well into the current century. After 2020, the ratio of births to immigrants per decade should approximate the proportions attained in the 1960s—nearly 2:1—except that the absolute numbers added will be more than five times larger: 21 million versus 4 million persons added to the population every 10 years.12

Given the influence of immigration in the rapid compounding of the Hispanic population, it is interesting to speculate how the U.S. population would look had national borders been sealed to all immigration after 1960. This exercise also illustrates the extent to which immigration has contributed to the size of the Hispanic population. Figure 2-2 shows a projected comparison of the growth in the total U.S. and Hispanic populations with and without the immigration that has occurred (taking into consideration new arrivals and new births to foreign-born women and their children).13 This projection shows that since 1960, immigrants and their offspring have added approximately 47 million residents to the total U.S. population—



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