How High is Hispanic/Mexican Fertility in the U.S.? Immigration and Tempo Considerations

Emilio A. Parrado, University of Pennsylvania
Jorge Armando Valencia-Rodriguez, University of Pennsylvania

This paper re-examines the issue of high Hispanic/Mexican fertility. We argue that two main processes distort period estimates. The first is the unknown size of the undercount in population projections and estimates. The second, and potentially more important issue, is that migration affects the timing of fertility. We show that the tendency of women to have a birth soon after migration dramatically distorts period estimates. The first part of the analysis documents anomalies in fertility estimates obtained from vital statistics. We then use data from the 2002 NSFG to show that these anomalies are also present in survey estimates. Connecting information on the timing of migration and fertility we document the acceleration in childbearing in the years immediately after arrival to the U.S. Finally, we use cohort fertility measures to provide alternative fertility estimates for Hispanic/Mexican women. Overall we show that standard period fertility measures significantly overstate the level of Hispanic/Mexican fertility.

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Presented in Session 112: Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Fertility among Hispanics in the U.S. and Latin America