LatinaLista — The U.S. Census released a new report today — New Analysis Offers State-by-State Look at Fertility.
Among the findings, there is an interesting tidbit of news that is not really new but doesn’t get the attention from media or the health field as it should —
Second generation Hispanic women tend to have lower fertility rates than either foreign-born Hispanics or those who were third generation (i.e., native and of native parents).
In plainer English, women whose parents came directly from the Mother Country have fewer children than their own daughters.
The natural assumption would be that with each successive generation there would be smaller families and education would play a more dominant role. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that third-generation Latinas (native-born and themselves children of native-born) are doing the opposite.
We see more third-generation Latinas dropping out of school, getting pregnant and working in low-skilled jobs and that may be the reason for the Census findings.
In a separate report on Hispanics, in preparation for Hispanic Heritage Month 2008, the U.S. Census found that 20.6 percent of Latinos lived in poverty and only 13 percent, ages 25 and older, had a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
The scenario that all this data seems to suggest is that there may be two scenarios: Some immigrant parents arrive in the U.S. with high hopes for their children that education will be their ticket out of poverty. The children seeing the struggles of their parents are move motivated to do well in school and succeed. They pass these same expectations onto their children.
The other scenario: Some immigrant parents arrive here with a strong work ethic and a weak appreciation for education. For these families, it’s all about labor and the sweat that comes from manual muscle flexing, not from mental gymnastics. It doesn’t matter that their jobs are minimum wage jobs – it’s dinero.
For these families, their lives revolve around work and family. The bigger the family, the bigger the pride. It’s a perspective that is passed down to children and grandchildren — until someone realizes a college degree can bring in a higher paycheck, and with it the realization of just how much it costs to have a bigger family.