While Hispanics make up California’s largest ethnic population—and have accounted for about two-thirds of the state’s overall population growth since 1980—substantial shifts in birthrates and immigration patterns are bringing about changes in California demographic projections. The group, which had been projected to account for a majority of the state’s population by 2050, now won’t reach that milestone until a decade later in 2060.
Resident Hispanics living in California currently account for 15 million of the state’s 38 million residents. While projections published in 2007 put the state’s Hispanic population at 31 million—52.1 percent of the population—by 2050, revised numbers put the Hispanic population at 23.7 million in 2050. The difference takes the racial proportion to less than half—47.6 percent. By 2060, according to Pew Research reported numbers from the California Department of Finance, Hispanics numbers will climb to 25.5 million. Growth in the group’s population still falls shy of gaining a clear majority as Pew projects the number as representing only 49.3 percent of the state’s overall population.
The reasons behind the projection slowdown are twofold, according to Pew: birthrate and recession. Where birthrate is concerned, Pew tracked an overall decline in U.S. births of 8 percent between the years 2007 and 2010. The decline consisted of a drop of 14 percent in the birthrate among foreign-born women. Strikingly, the birthrates among native Mexican women fell by 23 percent.
While the number of babies born in the United States dropped, the immigration patterns among Hispanics have also shifted. According to Pew, immigration to the United States from Latin America slowed dramatically with the onset of the Great Recession in 2008.
The decline in the Hispanic birth rate, Pew researchers say, is directly correlated to economic difficulties. The greatest drop in birthrates in the country was among the states with the largest declines in economic indicators.
“Despite a recent drop in unauthorized immigration from Mexico, the largest source country for U.S. immigrants, the Pew Research analysis found no decline in the number of foreign-born women of childbearing age,” according to the report.
Read about Mexican immigration trends here.