Latino Birth Rates in California

Fertility rates are higher in California than in any developed country in the world. Latina fertility rates are particularly important because Latinas make up a large and growing share of the state’s women.

In 2005, Latinas made up 38 percent of women ages 15 to 44, whites 40 percent, Asians 13 percent, and African Americans 6 percent. By 2020, the California Department of Finance projects that Latinas will make up almost half (47 percent) of women ages 15 to 44, and whites will fall to 32 percent. Latinas have much higher fertility rates than any other ethnic group in California. Latinas in California average 2.9 children per woman. Among foreign-born Latinas, total fertility rates—a measure of completed family size—average 3.7 children per woman.

In 2006, teen birth rates in California were the lowest ever recorded for the state. Teen birth rates have fallen dramatically in California and the nation over the past 15 years. The state’s teen birth rates were at all-time lows, with especially large declines in rates for Latinas and African Americans. Since the early 1990’s, teen birth rates have declined by almost half among Latinas in the state.

Because most children born in the state do not move away from California . . . fertility patterns have immediate implications for programs and policies focused on children, including, perhaps most importantly, the number of children in the state’s K–12 school system. Since the growing Latino population is concentrated in the under 24 age group, it is imperative that California improves the K-12 school system to ensure all Californians are equipped to attend a 4-year university. Take action on the issue and increase college access here.

To read the full report, entitled California Counts: Population Trends and Profiles from the Public Policy Institute of California click here.


Latina Women Lack Access to Health Care

Latina women and youth disproportionately lack access to health care. California’s Latino community lacks access to basic health care and experience disproportionate health disparities. For example, 34% of California’s Latinos do not have health insurance, representing the highest rate of uninsured adults among the state’s racial and ethnic groups. Only 77.3% of Latinos have a ‘usual source’ of medical care, compared to 90.4% of White and African American adults.

Access to basic health services and health insurance plays a significant role in promoting women’s reproductive and sexual health, as well as preventing and treating reproductive health conditions. This is especially critical for Latina women and adolescents who disproportionately lack access to health insurance. According to the most recent California Health Interview Survey (2005):

* Twenty-two percent (22.1%) of Latina women of all ages are uninsured, totaling over 1 million women. This compares to 6.4% White, 9.1% African American and 12.2% Asian women, respectively, without health insurance.17
* Young Latinas (ages 18-24) represent the highest segment of uninsured Latinas at 34.4%, compared to 13.6% White, 11.7% African American and 18.9% Asian young women of the same age range, respectively, without health insurance.18
* Fourteen percent (14.2%) of Latina adolescents (ages 12-17) lack health insurance compared to 3.0% African American, 4.4% White and 9.1% Asian female adolescents without health insurance.19

Latina women, young adults and adolescents also lack a usual place to go when they are sick or need health advice. Once again, young Latinas ages 18-24 represent those most lacking a usual source of care at 27.4%. Latina adolescents ages 12-17 follow at 22.9% and Latinas of all ages represent 13.8% of women without a usual source of care.