The Mexican-American Boom: Births Overtake Immigration

Press Release

July 14, 2011
Contact: Russ Oates

Mexican-American-population-boomBirths have surpassed immigration as the main driver of the dynamic growth of the Mexican-American population, according to a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.

Between 2000 and 2010, the Mexican-American population grew by 7.2 million as a result of births and by 4.2 million as a result of new immigrant arrivals. This is a change from the previous two decades when the number of new immigrants either matched or exceeded the number of births.

The surge in births is attributable to two factors. Mexican Americans, many of whom are immigrants, are younger and have higher fertility than other groups. The median age of Mexican-Americans in the U.S. is 25, compared with 30 for non-Mexican-origin Hispanics, 32 for blacks, 35 for Asians and 41 for whites. And the typical Mexican-American woman ages 40 to 44 (at the end of her child-bearing years) has given birth to more children (2.5) than similar aged non-Mexican-Hispanic (1.9), black (2.0), white (1.8) or Asian (1.8) women.

Meanwhile, the number of Mexicans annually leaving Mexico for the U.S. declined from more than one million in 2006 to 404,000 in 2010—-a 60% reduction. This contributed to fewer new immigrant arrivals to the U.S. from Mexico in the 2000s (4.2 million) than in the 1990s (4.7 million). However, the Mexican-American population continued to grow rapidly, with births accounting for 63% of the group’s population increase.

Mexican-Americans are the nation’s largest Hispanic group. At 31.8 million in 2010, they comprise 63% of the U.S. Hispanic population and 10% of the total U.S. population. Among Mexican-Americans, some 39%—-or 12.4 million—-are immigrants. More than half of these immigrants (6.5 million) are in the country without authorization.

The report, “The Mexican-American Boom: Births Overtake Immigration,” is available at the Pew Hispanic Center’s website,

The Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center, is a nonpartisan, non-advocacy research organization based in Washington, D.C. and is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts

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