- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2015

Immigrants’ birth rates have fallen precipitously in recent years, according to a report being released Thursday by the Center for Immigration Studies, which says the numbers undercut the argument immigrants are critical to ensuring the U.S. maintains its generous social safety net programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

The birth rate of immigrant women of reproductive age dropped from 76 births per 1,000 women in 2013 to 62 births per 1,000 in 2008. By contrast, native-born women’s birth rate dropped from 54 per 1,000 to 50 — a much smaller decline.

Immigrant women still have a higher fertility rate, but their average of 2.22 children expected during their lifetime is well below immigrants’ peak of 2.75 in 2008, said the report, written by Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler for the Center for Immigration Studies. By contrast, the native-born fertility rate was just 1.79 children per woman in 2013, for an average of 1.87 overall.

The authors said the findings should give pause to those who believe immigrants’ fertility can help slow the aging of the population.

“It is true that immigrants have more children on average than natives,” the authors said. “But the impact on the nation’s overall fertility rate is quite modest no matter how fertility is measured.”

Birth and fertility rates are fairly volatile, with the foreign-born fertility rate going from an expected 2.49 children per woman in 2006 to 2.58 in 2007, peaking at 2.75 in 2008, then steadily dropping to 2.45 in 2011 and 2.22 in 2013.

Asians had by far the lowest fertility rates among the native-born, at 1.59 children expected per Asian female in 2013. Among immigrant women, Asians and whites were nearly even, at 1.93 and 1.94, respectively.

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