Births to immigrant women in the United States is making up a growing proportion of the overall U.S. birth rate as the country pushes toward a minority majority.
Foreign women are having disproportionately more children than U.S.-born women. Fourteen percent of the population was foreign born in 2014 but 23 percent of newborns had foreign-born mothers, a Pew Research Center analysis of 2014 Census data, the latest available, released Wednesday indicated.
The fertility rate among U.S.-born women was 58.3 births per 1,000 compared to 84.2 among immigrant women. The highest fertility rate was among women from sub-Saharan Africa at 106.4 births per 1,000 women. Among Latin Americans, who accounted for half the births among immigrants (with Mexicans accounting for 32 percent), the fertility rate was 80.6.
Racially, the white majority is declining and is expected to be eclipsed in coming decades. By 2042 minorities are expected to become the majority and by 2050 to constitute 54 percent of the populace. Among children, non-whites are expected to be the majority by 2023.
Census data indicate the majority of foreign born mothers are in the U.S. long term with half of those who gave birth in the preceding 12 months having lived in their adopted country for at least a decade. Only 9 percent of the births were to newcomers, mostly from the Middle East and North Africa.
“The share of babies born to moms from Latin America has declined while the share of babies born to moms from regions such as Asia has increased,” Pew said, with women from Latin America four times as likely to be unmarried when giving birth.
The shift is due in part to the declining number of Latin American immigrants and a decline in births in the wake of the Great Recession, Pew said. The birth rate among unmarried immigrant women has gone from 90 per 1,000 women in 2008 to 60.4 per 1,000 in 2014. Birth rates among married foreign born women declined 10 percent.
Foreign-born mothers were likely to be less economically stable than their U.S. counterparts, largely because they are less educated.
Immigrant women accounted for 901,000 U.S. births in 2014, more than three times the number born in 1970. The annual number of births to U.S.-born women dropped by 11 percent in the same period from 3.46 million to 3.1 million. Some 275,000 were born to undocumented immigrants in 2014.
The number of births to unwed mothers has stabilized, driven largely by births to foreign mothers.
The data indicate a third of all births were to foreign-born, unmarried women, down from 37 percent in 2008. Among U.S.-born women, 42 percent of those who gave birth were unmarried. Forty percent of all babies born in the United States in 2014 were born to unmarried women, down from 41 percent in 2008, Pew said. The figure is roughly double what it was 30 years ago. Teenagers accounted for 6 percent of the births among unmarried U.S.-born women and 2 percent among immigrants.