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Report Number P23-176
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Preface

Declines in the birth rate in the previous decade led many demographers by 1980 to predict unprecedented rates of childlessness for current generations of women. However, large numbers of women born during the Baby Boom years of the 1950's entered their thirties at a time coincident with the transition to childbearing at later ages. As a result, the decade ended with annual numbers of births reaching the 4 million mark for the first time in 25 years.

A surge in immigration into the United States during the 1980's, especially from Latin America, also contributed to population growth as immigrants recorded significantly higher fertility rates than the native-born population. Currently, over 10 percent of all births occurring annually in the United States are born to immigrants.

Could this change to childbearing at later ages have been anticipated and does it foreshadow a new American Baby Boom?

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Late Expectations: Childbearing Patterns of American Women for the 1990’s
by Martin O'Connell

The first paper in this report focuses on this fertility transition and the likelihood of its continuation during the coming decade.

Profile of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States
by Amara Bachu

The second paper further evaluates the childbearing patterns of immigrants and their potential contribution to population growth in the future. In addition, the paper highlights the similarities and differences between the foreign-born and native-born populations for various demographic and economic indicators.

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A Note on Language

Census statistics date back to 1790 and reflect the growth and change of the United States. Past census reports contain some terms that today’s readers may consider obsolete and inappropriate. As part of our goal to be open and transparent with the public, we are improving access to all Census Bureau original publications and statistics, which serve as a guide to the nation's history.

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