Undocumented Immigrants Giving Birth in U.S. More Than Previously Thought, Study Finds
The birth rate among undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. is much higher than previously thought, and many of the children born in the U.S. are living in poverty and are uninsured, according to a report from the Pew Hispanic Center, the Washington Post reports.
The findings are based on U.S. Census Bureau data from March 2008, as well as other government records, such as immigrant admissions, to estimate the number of undocumented immigrants in the country. Researchers found that even though the total number of undocumented immigrants appears to have leveled off since 2006, the number of children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants increased from 2.7 million in 2003 to four million in 2008.
The spike in births in large part is because of the younger age of the general immigrant population, as well as their desire to marry and have children, according to the Post.
Researchers also found that the poverty rate for U.S.-born children whose parents were undocumented immigrants in 2007 was almost twice as high as for those born to either documented immigrants or U.S.-born parents. Such children also were about twice as likely to not have health insurance in 2008 as those born to documented immigrants and three times as likely as children of U.S.-born parents.
While the issue of undocumented immigrants having U.S.-born children is not new, the increase in births is "likely to complicate" the debate over immigration policies, the Post reports (Aizenman, Washington Post, 4/15).
The report is available online (.pdf).