It's now clear that the economic recession that started seven years ago was accompanied by a drop in the nation's birthrate, but demographers predict a "baby bounce" is in store for the coming years. It appears that birthrates will rise as the economy continues to grow. New census numbers give us a look at where the birthrates are highest and who is having babies. Could this be a glimpse into what America will look like in the next 10 years? Here's what we know.
Hispanics lead birthrate rebound
Pharr, TX, which is located near the Mexican border, currently holds the nation's highest percentage of children. Approximately 36 percent of all residents in Pharr are under the age of 18, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The nearby Texas cities of Mission, Edinburg and Laredo are also among places with higher than average populations of kids. Each of these cities contain more than 85 percent Hispanic populations. Nearly 93 percent of residents in Pharr are Hispanic.
Juan Guerra, Pharr's city manager, explains what Census data supports, that Hispanics are having more children than other races. Guerra, 37, and his wife have four children, the oldest of which is four.
"Having strong bongs and big families is the norm in the Hispanic culture," Guerra says. "I'd say about three or four children is the average for this area. If you break it down by ethnicity we're having more children than other cultures."
The rise in Pharr's birthrate tracks with economic growth the city has experienced. Pharr's unemployment rate is just over 6 percent and it appears that the city is in line to get more jobs. The southern tip of Texas has been one of the fastest growing areas in the country. Once a land of citrus farms and cattle ranches, Pharr and the surrounding area have seen recent construction of big box stores, schools, malls and subdivisions. The relatively new influx of children has not gone unnoticed by government officials who now face pressure to accommodate growing families.
"We're seeing growth in the number of schools as well as a need for parks" Guerra says. "We're deficient in park space. That's something we're addressing, trying to catch up."
Six out of the 10 cities with the highest percentages of kids in the nation have large Hispanic populations. Among the exceptions to this finding are West Jordan, UT and Gilbert, AZ.
Economy tied to birthrate
Unlike their parents, the Baby Boomers, a large number of those born in the late 60s through the early 1980s, held off having babies until they reached their late 20s and early 30s. Researchers have found that building careers, accumulating wealth and enjoying the parentless lifestyle were reasons many couples opted to wait. It appears many Millennial (those who reached young adulthood around 2000) are doing the same thing. This has resulted in a projected deficit of the 2.1 children per woman needed to keep the U.S. population stable, not counting immigration. Many demographers feel that as unemployment falls and wages increase so will the number of women giving birth. Again, Hispanic women, who average more than two children in a lifetime, currently lead the baby recovery.
Take a look at the interactive infographic below to get a better understanding of children in America, including a look at which states hold the highest and fewest amount of kids.