People of Latin American decent have represented the largest ethnic minority in the United States since the early part of the 21st century, when their numbers surpassed those of black Americans (USATODAY). The expansion of the Latino/Hispanic population of the United States is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, fueled not only by immigrants seeking economicopportunity but also by the children that they and native-born Latinos bring into American society. Due to their relatively higher levels of fertility in comparison to white and black Americans, the growth of the Hispanic population of the United States will be more than just empirical; they will continue to expand as a percentage of the American population while other ethnic groups remain at or belowreplacement levels of fertility (PRB). Indeed, it is the births to Latina women in the United States that are responsible for the maintenance of a fertility rate above replacement levels in the United States as other developed nations observe their fertility rates continue to fall and their populations begin to age (PRB).
These trends in fertility and immigration among Hispanics aredestroying the historic white/black binary of ethnic relations in the United States and, along with Asian Americans, creating a multiethnic dynamic (PRB). The growth of Latino populations in the United States is a critical factor in the functioning of economic and social systems as the more affluent, aging white majority leaves the workforce and turns down low jobs. The reality of the Americaneconomic/social demographic situation is that Latinos provide the cheap labor that is immensely important to the system and continue to provide new consumers to the market. The current trend of Latino populations moving outside of traditional gateway cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, etc. and into communities of the Midwest and Southeast is partially fuelled by changes in theeconomic base of the regions and demographic aging of their populations (Pinal 58). These increasing numbers of Latino children stemming from immigration and higher rates of fertility will create need to expand and adapt the educational, medical, and social service systems of their communities to encompass the needs of this culturally and linguistically diverse group (ACS).
Due to thisnecessity to project and plan for the specific needs of the Latino population of the United States, understanding the fertility of Latinas is a critical issue. In an effort to better understand the nature of Hispanic fertility in the United States, this essay will examine the issue of fertility in the Hispanic community of the United States. A selection of demographic and ethnographic studies ofLatino populations will be used to inform a discussion on rates of Hispanic fertility, to analyze the factors that influence it, and to hypothesize about its implications for the future demographic makeup of the country.
Overview of Select Demographic Characteristics: Latinos in the United States
According to the American Community Survey (ACS) of the U.S. Census Bureau, the Latino populationof the United States in 2007 was 45,427 people, which translates to approximately 15% of the total population. Of these 45,427 Hispanics, it is estimated that 40% are foreign born, correlating to 6% of the United States population being foreign-born Latinos. 9% of the Latinos in the United States are native-born, although nearly half of the native born are estimated to be children of immigrants(Pinal 58). In terms of United States citizenship, Pinal estimates that “7 in every 10 Hispanics are U.S. citizens, either by birth or naturalization (Pinal 58)”
Latino immigrants to the United States are overwhelmingly young, healthy, and more likely to by male, although the figures vary somewhat depending on country of origin (Pinal 59). Latinos have a median age of 26.9 percent while...