Births to Immigrant Women in California Increase, Report Finds
Infants born to immigrant women accounted for more than 46% of California births in 2002, compared with 23% of births nationwide -- according to a report released Thursday by the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based group that supports immigration limits -- the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports (Espinoza, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 7/8). By comparison, about 15% of California births in 1970 were to foreign-born women (Doyle, Sacramento Bee, 7/8).
CIS analyzed birth certificates registered with the National Center for Health Statistics. According to NCHS, about 99% of birth certificates in the United States are registered with the center, including those for births to undocumented immigrants (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 7/8).
The report estimates that 383,000 infants are born annually in the United States to undocumented foreign-born women, accounting for one in 10 U.S. births. It estimates that 116,862 infants were born to undocumented immigrants in California in 2002.
Fresno, Merced, San Joaquin, Tulare and Yolo counties were among the nation's top counties in percentage of births to immigrant mothers.
The report also found that:
- In Sacramento County, one in three infants born in 2002 was born to an immigrant woman, compared with 18% in 1990;
- In Stanislaus County, about 36% of births in 2002 were to immigrant women, compared with about 27% in 1990 (Sacramento Bee, 7/8); and
- In Sonoma County, about 37% of births in 2002 were to immigrant women, about twice the percentage in 1990 (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 7/8).
Steve Camarota, director of research for the center and author of the report, said, "We simply don't know how these children will assimilate --- but it is clear that the stakes for America are enormous" (Sacramento Bee, 7/8).
Cecilia Munoz -- vice president for policy at the National Council of La Raza, a Latino group -- said, "This [report] is being presented in the most inflammatory possible way by an organization which is anti-immigrant, so it's important to read it with that understanding."
Jeffrey Passel, a demographer with the Pew Hispanic Center, said the methodology used in the CIS analysis was similar to Pew's method of estimating undocumented immigrants (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 7/8).