Mexican-American Fertility Patterns: A Racial Stratification Perspective

Reanne Frank, University of Chicago

Recent evidence has demonstrated that dramatic decreases in the fertility rates of Mexican women in Mexico have been matched by continuous increases in the fertility rates of Mexican-Americans in the U.S., particularly at younger ages. These changes necessitate a reexamination of the ubiquitous theory that Mexican pronatalist values are responsible for the high fertility rates found within the Mexican Origin population in the U.S. Instead, they point to the increasing relevance of framing the fertility behavior of the Mexican Origin population within a stratification perspective that stresses the influence of U.S. social context on fertility behavior. As a step in this direction, this presentation will use the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (L.A.FANS) to evaluate the extent to which community context influences Mexican American fertility levels in Los Angeles neighborhoods and to identify which aspects of neighborhood differentiation contribute to this relationship.

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Presented in Session 169: Fertility and Social Inequality in Developed Countries