By Andrea Alegría.
Los Ángeles, Ca.- The number of babies born in the U.S. has been declining since the start of the recession in 2007 with Hispanic women experiencing the largest reduction in births among other racial and ethnic groups, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.
In 2009 total births in the U.S. dropped to 4.1 million –the lowest number since 2004 – from 4.3 million in 2007. In 2010 provisional data showed births numbered just over 4 million, according to the report.
The Pew study released Oct. 12, which analyzed multiple economic and demographic data from all 50 states, links this decline in births to the poor economy.
Those hardest hit by economic distress and high unemployment rates showed the biggest fertility declines.
“An examination of national level data shows that Hispanics, who have been hit the hardest in terms of unemployment and wealth, have also experienced the largest fertility declines since the onset of the recession,” the report indicates.
Even though Hispanics continue to have birth rates that are much higher than their non-Hispanic counterparts, from 2008 to 2009 the birth rate among Hispanics dropped almost 6 percent.
In comparison with other ethnic groups, blacks experienced a 2.4 percent decline, and whites experienced a 1.6 percent decline.
The report indicates that the 2009 Hispanic birth rate of 99.3 births per 1000 women of childbearing age is the lowest rate since 1999.
Mirroring this decline, the employment levels among the Hispanic community were also the hardest hit during the recession. From 2007 to 2008 the employment rate among Hispanics declined by 1.6 percent, compared to 1.0 percentage points for blacks and 0.7 points for whites.
Unemployment among Hispanics increased by 2 percentage points from 2007 to 2008. Unemployment for blacks increased by 1.8 percentage points and by 0.9 percentage points for whites.
The study also points out that Hispanic households have been among the biggest losers of wealth since the beginning of the recession. Hispanic households have lost 66 percent of their median wealth from 2005 to 2009.