Latinas are no longer ruling with the highest fertility rates in the country.
The New York Times is reporting that Hispanic women in the United States are opting to have fewer children, leading to birthrate declines among both immigrant and native-born Latinas from 2007 to 2010.
The paper quotes a recent report by the Pew Research Center, which found that Mexican-American women are leading the trend, as well as women who immigrated from México. The percentage of that decline was 25.7, according to Pew, 2010 being the year with less Hispanic births in two decades.
At a national level, 2011 marked a new record low, with 63 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. The national birthrate is currently about half of what it was during the baby boom years, when it peaked in 1957 with nearly 123 births per 1,000 women.
The publication explains that there are several reasons why Latinas aren’t in a hurry for motherhood. In addition to the recession, attitudes toward having bigger families may have changed with the times. Older generations, they say, prized larger families and were more likely to following religious Roman Catholic teachings, which forbid artificial contraception. In addition, reproductive health experts are stating there is greater access to information about birth control.
“I want to go to law school. I’m married. I work. When do I have time?” said 29-year-old Marucci Guzman Beard when asked whether she would have a second child. Beard gave birth to her daughter four years ago.
Education isn’t the only major factor. The Pew report also reveals poverty and unemployment grew among Latinos from 2005 to 2009. With a struggling economy, Latinos may have chosen to put children on hold.
“Before I probably would have been pressured to have more,” said 37-year-old Jersey Garcia, a mother of two. “I think living in the United States, I don’t have family members close by to help me, and it takes a village to raise a child. So the feeling is, keep what you have right now.”
In the case of 40-year-old Olga Gonzalez, a mother of two who teaches a family-planning class in Spanish to Mexican immigrants in Denver, the choice was simple: moving on up was more crucial than having children at a much-younger age.
“I chose to do the college route first and establish my career and then think about babies later,” she said.