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Research & Development will now resume:
Millions of words written about the
Kennedy-Bush amnesty legislation that the
powers-that-be almost succeeded in sliding by the public
last summer. But it has almost never been mentioned in
the press that the last amnesty, in 1986, set off a
massive baby boom among Hispanic immigrants in
California. This demographic pig-in-the-python nearly
choked the public school system.
The non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)
has just released a new study by demographer
Hans P. Johnson entitled "Birth
Rates in California" [PDF]
what immigration has done to
California—and thus what it portends for America as
A PPIC graph shows that the expected "total fertility
rate" (TFR) or expected lifetime number of babies
per woman in her childbearing years was sharply affected
the 1986 amnesty.
Johnson explains what happened:
fertility rates for Latinas [about
2.6 babies per woman] were only slightly higher than
for other ethnic groups, but the increase in fertility
rates in the late 1980s was much more dramatic among
Latinas, so that by 1991 the total fertility rate for
Latinas had reached 3.5 children per woman. … This
increase is likely associated with the Immigration
Reform and Control Act of 1986… One consequence was
that many women from Mexico migrated to the United
States to join their spouses or partners who had been
granted legal residency."
boom among amnestied illegal immigrants
led to severe overcrowding of
California public schools. Many shifted to
year-round schedules to spread the growing student
load over the entire 12 months. The notorious "B
Track" for example, starts in early August, then
takes a couple months off in the fall, then a couple of
months off in the spring, and ends the school year in
late July. It then immediately starts the next grade the
Among immigrant Latinas, the total fertility rate peaked
at 4.4 in 1990, four years after the amnesty, then
dropped to 3.2 in 1999, but has since climbed back to
3.7 in 2005.
American-born white California women have a total
fertility rate of only 1.6.)
average education level of the parents of these new
Californians is not promising, which explains a lot
about why the Golden State has
fallen behind traditionally weak-testing states like
Tennessee, Kentucky, and Louisiana on the federal school
Across all races, Johnson estimates:
total fertility rate for women in California with a
graduate degree was 1.8, compared to 2.9 for women who
had not graduated from high school."
higher rate among Mexican immigrants in California today
is at least partly, if not wholly, due to
the origins of immigrants within Mexico. Most
immigrants to California from Mexico come from
rural areas and small towns, areas where
educational attainment levels are low and fertility
rates are much higher than the national levels."
But note this: the PPIC report also observes that
the total fertility rate of immigrants from Mexico in
California is far higher than the overall
fertility rate in Mexico, which stands at only 2.4
children per woman."
At our expense. Their arrival has driven up
California`s home prices and taxes and damaged its
public schools, but, hey, it`s still better than Mexico.
response, the natives of California who want more
children than California`s decay allows them are either
leaving the state or delaying having children until
they can afford them.
often turns out to be
never. Among US-born women of all races in
California, 26% are still childless at age 40-44, versus
20% nationally. (The rate for American-born white women
is certainly higher.)
Last-chance fertility among native women in their 40s
has skyrocketed. Johnson writes:
"Fertility rates for U.S.-born women ages 40 to 44 have
increased almost threefold since 1982."
baby in your 40s increases the chance of birth defects,
such as Downs Syndrome, and of having twins or triplets.
And babies are cute, but exhausting, especially for an
older mothers, those 40 and over, the rate of twin
births has increased almost threefold, from 2.5 percent
of all births to 7.4 percent. Rates are particularly
high for older white women, increasing to 11.1 percent
from 3.1 percent over the past 15 years."
fertility rate actually underestimates the overall
impact of immigration on the population. Hispanic
generation times are shorter than among American-born
whites and Asians, who are delaying childbirth almost to
the biological limits. The peak fertility for Hispanics
is from ages 20-24, compared to 30-34 for whites and
Among American-born Hispanics, the TFR is "only"
2.2, but that`s 38% higher than for American-born
whites. Further, it`s up from under 2.0 in the
mid-1980s. So the ethnic gap isn`t narrowing.
Finally, the very high fertility of the first generation
of Hispanic immigrants means there are more Hispanic
second-generation mothers around to have 2.2 babies
This phenomenon of "demographic momentum" that
keeps the population growing for a half century or so
after replacement level fertility is reached is little
consider it from a grandparent`s perspective.
Imagine two neighbors comparing notes on who has more
grandchildren. Mr. North, who lives on the north side of
the street, says, "My children each have two
Mr. South replies, "So do mine."
Mr. North exclaims, "Then you must have four
grandchildren, just like me."
Mr. South laughs, "No, I have eight grandchildren!
See, you only had two children, so you have four
grandchildren. But I had four children, so I have eight
Among immigrant whites, the TFR is 2.0 because,
according to the PPIC report,
substantial share of white immigrants are from the
Middle East (western Asia) and North Africa, where
fertility rates tend to be higher than in the United
It`s common for pundits to opine that we`re lucky that
immigrants are keeping the economy afloat by having so
many children because whites just can`t hack it anymore.
But it`s not a racial weakness—according to the PPIC,
the problem is even more severe among
"U.S.-born Asians have among the lowest fertility rates
in the world, with only 1.4 children per woman in 2005."
The fundamental problem: California isn`t working for
its American-born citizens anymore.
So, why Californicate the rest of the country?
features his daily blog.]