U.S. birth rate drops to record lows, Latinos having fewer babies than ever before
Well, here's something that I absolutely NEVER would have guessed based on the sheer number of pregnant and baby-having mommies I see on my Facebook newsfeed every single day: the Pew Research Center is reporting that American birth rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1920, when we first started tracking it. What's more, now we can solidly tell any racist who thinks that Latinos come to the U.S. simply to give birth that this is simply NOT true. Foreign-born women's birth rate dropped by 14 percent and, in particular, Mexican-born women's birth rate dropped 23 percent in the span of just a few years.
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This news comes at the heels of the worst economic recession in decades and actually has officials worrying about who's going to pay for things like Social Security benefits when the baby boomer generation reaches that older age. Apparently we immigrants were expected to pick up the slack, since we typically have bigger families, but that just doesn't seem to be true anymore. Roberto Suro, a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California, tells the Washington Post why that is:
We've been assuming that when the baby-boomer population gets most expensive, that there are going to be immigrants and their children who are going to be paying into [programs for the elderly], but in the wake of what's happened in the last five years, we have to reexamine those assumptions. When you think of things like the solvency of Social Security, for example . . . relatively small increases in the dependency ratio can have a huge effect.
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To be honest, I'm really not that surprised by this statistic. Economic recession aside, life just costs a lot of money these days. Between raising a child, school costs and university tuition, who can actually afford to have a big family anymore? I may be one of those foreign-born women that the statistic is talking about and I know I definitely play right into it, since there's no way I'll be having as big a family as my abuelita did.
However, I think that's definitely a good thing. With the world's population being just over 7 billion people (with 300 million being in the U.S. alone) and global warming being a huge threat on our planet and our resources, I think we can all stand to have less kids.
Image via "G" jewels g is for grandma/flickr