The birth rate among Latinos decreased by 11% since 2007, according to preliminary 2010 data released earlier this month.
The decline is attributed to the dwindled economy and a general downward fertility trend in the U.S. Last year, less than 1 million babies were born to Latinos.
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that although birth rates have decreased across backgrounds and races, the Latino population has experienced the sharpest drop, declining from 97.4 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 2007 to 80.3 in 2010.
“Hispanic fertility is dropping like a stone,” said Kenneth Johnson, a demographer for the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute.
States with high Latino populations experienced some of the greatest decreases. The Latino birth rate in Texas previously accounted for half of all the births in the state, but that number is now down to 48.9%, a total drop of 7.5% since 2007. In Florida, Latino births dropped by 15.9%, and California saw a decrease by 7.3%.
“It’s hard to ignore that Hispanics have been one of the hardest-hit groups,” said Gretchen Livingston, senior researcher at the Pew Research Center.
Despite the decline, Latinos still have the highest fertility rates in the U.S., contributing to nearly a quarter of all births and half of the population growth. Latinos prevented population decline in 9% of the U.S.’s 3,141 counties.