When the niños run out:
It has been pointed out before that the birth rate in Mexico is in freefall.  A recent article (When the Niños Run Out, ECONOMIST vol. 395 no. 8679 April 24, 2010 page 35) outlines the numbers, saying that in 30 years Mexico promises to have a lower birth rate than the United States.  The article attributes the fall mostly to economic factors and largely to government policy, although they acknowledge that Brazil has a similar baby bust without much government effort. 

Of course I attribute it all to urban infertility, to the inexorable rise in genetic diversity and gene pool size that is visiting the world everywhere with the resulting decline in fertility.  That data is in the professional literature already.  It’s not just me.  But it continues to be ignored. 

One reason that the United States’ birth rate is not scandalously low is that immigrants have a higher birth rate than natives, at least for a couple of generations.  And our greatest immigrant input is from Mexico.  And thereby hangs something a bit odd perhaps.

It turns out that the Mexicans who are living in the United States not only have a higher birth rate than the average American.  They have a higher birth rate than the average Mexican, too.

Of course it all may be a strategy of securing American citizenship for the children.  Anyone born in America is a native, I think that’s by definition, and a citizen.  So If you are Mexican and going to have children, and you think that the United States offers and will continue to offer more opportunities than Mexico, it makes sense to get over the border at least long enough to have the children.  I hardly think Mexico itself would ever offer to deport Mexican children simply because they were born in the United States.  And that may be the entire story.

But there is another possible factor.  In Mexico itself there is an enormous migration into Mexico City, where the social horizon is broad and the chance of marrying someone who will in the long run lower your fertility and/or that of your children is strong.  Even outside the city, ever increasing wealth and mobility are depressing fertility just like everywhere else.  But for those who have taken the initiative to make it into the United States, by foul means or fair, are likely to have come as a group.  They already have their social pool.  For reasons perhaps of language, trust or just taste they do not mingle freely in a social pool with the United States at large or even with the immigrant community.  By keeping their gene pools tight, they thrive.

This is irony.  I tend to think of migration as the poster child of increasing gene pool size.  But it may not always be true. 

There have been 4,001 visitors so far according to the statistics package, but that apparently is on the fritz and not updating.  It’s not that we’ve have no visitors since yesterday.  According to the computer yesterday never even happened. 

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