Mark Wethmen, who formerly blogged at Congenial Times (since deleted and then reincarnated, though not obviously related to its previous life), graciously sent me data from the Arizona Department of Health Services showing birth trends by race in the state over the last decade. Consequently, I'm going to take one more shot from the fecundity elixir, and then I'll really put down the bottle, honest.
Like The Undiscovered Jew, Mark has also noticed that since the onset of the economic recession, the number of live births by Hispanic women in Arizona has steadily declined. I added data for blacks, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans:
Even before the recession, Arizona was a top destination for internal migration among whites (primarily those fleeing California), but it was similarly so among Hispanics. Over the last few years, however, it appears that Hispanics have been, in some combination, leaving the state (and the country) at greater rates than non-Hispanics have and experiencing a decline in fertility at faster rates than non-Hispanics have.
In wondering if Arizona might serves as a microcosm for what is occurring in the rest of the country, Mark gathered data on births in 2008 and 2009 by state from the CDC. Looking at where states ranked in terms of the relative sizes of their Hispanic and black populations, he thought crude though the measure may be (the data are on total births and are not broken out by race), it appeared to indicate that Arizona's was part of a larger trend, not merely an outlier.
To add more precision to that observation, I correlated racial composition with the 2008-2009 change in births by state using 2009 Census data. The phenomenon is real. The correlation between the percentage of a state's population that is Hispanic and the change in the number of births in 2009 from 2008 is a moderate but statistically significant inverse .33. Correlation runs in the other direction for whites and blacks (.14 and .10, respectively), but not at any level of statistical reliability.
While skyrocketing foreclosure rates, the massive loss of wealth in baby boomer retirement accounts, and a near-doubling of the unemployment rate are tragedies in their own regard, if the browning of the US becomes a casualty of the 'Great Recession', I think that's worse. At worst, though, I'd guess the process has just decelerated a bit.