Fertility Rates By Race: USA

The USA’s Total Fertility Rates by Race, 1980 to 2010

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NOTE: This is a follow-up to a post made last year, “USA’s Total Fertility Rates by Race, 1980-2008”, the data for which ended in 2008.

The CDC recently released final fertility figures for 2010, and used Census-2010 data to update estimates for the entirety of the 2000s. I have produced the above graph, displaying the updated information broken down by race, and have included a table — below — on which that graph is based.

[Note: ‘Total Fertility Rate‘ refers to the estimated number of children a woman can expect to have in her lifetime, based on a specific year’s birth-rate. In advanced societies, ‘replacement fertility’ is said to be 2.1 — to replace the mother and father, and a 0.1 ‘surplus’ to account for retardation, death in childhood, and other factors. A modern society with a 1.05 TFR, then, would produce a child-generation half as large as the parent-generation. (1.05/2.1)]

Population Contraction (of native-born Americans): It’s humbling to think that the USA has had below replacement-fertility for the entirety of the period of this dataset. The 1970s were not fertile years, either. One must go back to 1971, actually, to find a year in which the USA had a TFR comfortably-above the replacement level of 2.1. (It was 2.26 in 1971, but quickly falling — 2.01 in 1972, and 1.88 in 1973). Forty years, and counting, of not replacing ourselves. The USA’s overall TFR flirted with exact-replacement fertility in 2006 and 2007 amid the height of the housing-bubble.

Note on ‘White’ TFR and White population contraction: A caveat is in order. Race-fertility calculations in the USA are based on race of mother. By the late 2000s, ~10% of the babies born to American White women were fathered by Nonwhite men. The American ‘White-White TFR’ (babies with two White parents) would thus be ~1.6 in 2010 (down from ~1.7 before the recession). [White-Female-Fertility (x) Share of those births to White fathers = 1.79* 0.9].

Late-1980s Optimism: All groups saw a fertility rise in the late 1980s (See Western Civilizational Pride, 1986-2002“), which by the early-to-mid 1990s had receded for Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and Amerindians, but — curiously — remained for Whites. White fertility was boosted by a respectable ~15% in the years straddling the fall of Communism, and it held onto that gain, remarkably consistently, through the 1990s and 2000s.

The Housing Bubble: All the Nonwhite groups saw a noticeable rise in fertility in the mid-2000s. This was the era of the “Housing Bubble”, which was caused by government-mandated cheap housing loans primarily to Nonwhites, as Steve Sailer has pointed out. (And which ultimately caused the recession). Whites, too, saw a small bump in the mid-2000s, but theirs was the miniscule.

Late 2000s Recession: All the temporary gains driven by the Housing Bubble were given back, and then some, by the soft economy of the past five years. The USA’s recession technically began at the end of 2007, so we would assume fewer babies would have been born in 2008, which is true. Indeed, 2007 was a high-water-mark year for USA fertility in the 21st century thus far, across all racial groups. In 2008, 2009, and 2010, we have seen declining fertility, particularly dramatic for Hispanics.

Hispanics: A casual glance at this graph may suggest that something big is underway within the Hispanic community in the USA. Actually, Hispanics may have been at the 2.3-2.4 TFR range by the early-2010s anyway, if not for the subprime-mortgage initiative boosting their TFR for a while. (One can clearly see a ‘bubble’ in their TFR line — It is easy to imagine a gradual slide from their 2.6-2.7 range of the late 1990s to the 2.3-2.4 by the late 2000s. In other words, Hispanic TFR has now settled into where it would have been without the federal subsidy on Nonwhite Affordable Family Creation (NAFC — it might as well have an acronym). Also something to consider if that high-fertility Hispanic recent-immigrant women, which have always lifted Hispanic fertility rates, probably stayed home, especially in 2009 and 2010 — when economic news was bleakest.

American Indians: Nothing in this chart is as dramatic as the collapse of American-Indian fertility, from a respectable 2.2 in 1990 to a weak 1.4 in 2010. I cannot explain this.

Data Source
National Vital Statistics Report, Volume 61, tables 4 and 8. (Published in 2012).

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