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Pew: Births Outside Marriage Fall for Immigrant Women in U.S.

Births among women in the U.S. but originally from Latin America have declined, helping drive a drop in births outside marriage among foreign born women, a Pew analysis reported Wednesday.

The shift in births from Latin American to women of other regions is partly caused by the decline in recent U.S. immigrants from Latin America and because of dramatic birth rate declines among Hispanic immigrants triggered by the Great Recession.

In 2014, the birth rate for unmarried immigrants – the annual number of births per 1,000 immigrant women of child bearing years - was 60.4, down from 90 in 2008.

Dancing feet of overweight baby
Dancing feet of overweight baby Anthony Asael

For women born in Latin America, births were more likely to occur outside of marriage than they were for U.S.-born women, 48 percent to 42 percent respectively.

While this decline has occurred, the share of babies born to mothers from regions such as Asia has increased, who are less likely to have births outside of marriage.

Despite the declines, foreign born women are responsible for the long-term growth in annual births.

The number of births in the U.S. in 2014 was 4 million, compared to 3.74 million in 1970.

During that period from 1970 to 2014, the number of births to U.S.-born women dropped 11 percent, from 3.46 million in 1970 to 3.10 million in 2014.

For immigrant women, the number rose from 274,000 births to 901,000 births.

Other findings in the report:

  • More than half of all babies born to foreign-born women in the U.S. are to those from nine countries and one U.S. territory: Mexico, China, India, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Philippines, Honduras, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
  • Although births to Mexican-born women have declined in recent years, they still accounted for 32 percent of all U.S. births to foreign-born women in 2014, up from 20 percent in 1970. Mexican-born mothers accounted for 7 percent of all U.S. births in 2014.

Pew compiled the report based on analysis of National Center for Health Statistics data derived from U.S. birth certificates and from American Community Survey data.

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