Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hispanic births decreasing in Arizona, and likely the rest of the US as well

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.


An Unmarried Man said...

This is less a function of "browning" than of demographic evolution. Recessions are coincidental (and even incidental). All my relatives (my age) in Mexico are having less than 2 children now.

Mexico has experienced plummeting birth rates and US native Mexicans are not far behind. Contrary to your fetishized view, we don't breed haphazardly lol!

Anonymous said...

" Contrary to your fetishized view, we don't breed haphazardly lol!"

There is no "we". Mexicans are diverse. Whites and upper class have fewer kids. Indians and lower class have more. The US gets the lowest classes, hence their higher birthrates in the US.

Steve Sailer said...


I like how you use the yellow, brown, red color scheme for different races to make the graph more intutive. The gray background lets you use a white line for whites, which has a lot of advantages, but then you need black lines for the grid, so you have a dark green line for blacks, which is okay in Arizona.

My preference is to use a white background, make the gridlines a faint gray, make blacks black and then make whites blue. The mnemonic logic is that whites are the most likely to blue eyes. Plus, blue is a nice looking color.

Audacious Epigone said...


I've stuck with the same color scheme for sometime and have been happy with the results. The only issue with blue for whites is that's the my designated color for Jews (a baby blue, similar to Israel's flag).