Racial-Ethnic Differences in Fertility Intentions and the Social Value of Children: Hispanic Familism Reconsidered

Caroline Sten Hartnett, University of Pennsylvania

Immigrant and US-born Hispanic women have fertility levels that are moderately higher than non-Hispanic White women. In this paper, we use data on fertility intentions and the social value of children from the 2006-08 NSFG and the 1998 CPS Fertility Supplement to evaluate whether there is evidence that Hispanics have a stronger preference for children than non-Hispanic Whites. We find little support for this idea, particularly for US-born Hispanics. There is no relationship or a negative relationship between Hispanic ethnicity and five attitudinal indicators, such as whether the respondent would be bothered by being childless, or believes the rewards of childbearing are worth the costs. Hispanic immigrants have higher intended parity (by about 1/4 of a birth) and are more likely to believe that having children is essential to happiness, compared with Whites, but US-born Hispanics are very similar to Whites on these measures.

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Presented in Session 101: Demography of the United States Latino Population