Jobs Mexicans Won't Do

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Economist Robert Dunn notices something Ben Wattenberg has been pointing out for years. Mexicans aren't producing babies like they used to:

There has been a stunning decline in the fertility rate in Mexico, which means that, in a few years, there will not be nearly as many teenagers in Mexico looking for work in the United States or anywhere else…

Another reason for the particularly sharp decline in Mexico is the cultural influence of the United States. Some politicians fear that we are being "Mexicanized." In fact the opposite may be underway. NAFTA, our mass media, the more widespread use of English, and the large number of people going back and forth (legally or otherwise) mean that Mexicans are increasingly influenced by our culture, and that implies fewer babies.

I'm not sure this particular trend is attributable to Americanization; plunging fertility rates are a global phenomenon, and it's not as if they're falling fastest in countries most enamored of American culture. (Iran's fertility rate dropped 64 percent between 1986 and 2000.) Mexican-Americans, incidentally, have a higher fertility rate than Mexicans.

Via Will Wilkinson.  

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  1. Latin America has had rapidly declining birth rates since the 1970s, not sure why this is news. I guess its good to point it out, though, because many natavists try to make Latin America look like a demographic time bomb when its far from it.

  2. I agree with MikeP.

  3. MikeP is never, ever right. That said, I agree with thoreau.

  4. MikeP’s brilliance in this is unassailable; however I must wholeheartedly reject any and all statements made herein by thoreau.

  5. thoreau, J sub D, and Pro Libertate have it all wrong, and MikeP agrees with me.

  6. Is the last sentence supposed to be even more surprising?

  7. I’m possibly looking through rose colored glasses here, but is Mexico’s falling birth rate an indication that the society is moving towards a first world zeitgeist? Just something to think about.

  8. fertility rates decline when parents decide they are better off with fewer rather than more pregnancies.

    peasant societies feature high fertility rates, since 1) infant mortality is high, and 2) parents can get free labor from their children, which is advantageous.

    More modern-day economies, and available birth control, tend to change that.

    European fertility rates dropped dramatically over the period 1800 – 1950.

  9. I am spar.. I mean, I agree with MikeP

  10. I would add to what doves said the idea that liberalization of trade with the US has decimated Mexican subsistence agriculture and driven rural Mexicans into the cities [and to the US].

    That’s a quick way to slash birthrates.

  11. I wonder how this relates to Catholic anti birth control dogma. The peons aren’t blindly obeying any more?

    I would add to what doves said the idea that liberalization of trade with the US has decimated Mexican subsistence agriculture and driven rural Mexicans into the cities [and to the US].

    How would that work? More jobs that offer better lifestyles? More security from starving if a crop fails?

    If you’re saying that cheaper U.S. food is driving the farmers out of business, that won’t hunt. Subsistence farming isn’t a “business” in that the farmers neither buy food (In a good year.) nor sell it. They raise just enough to feed themselves.

    Subsistence agriculture is not a fun way to make a living.

  12. ..liberalization of trade with the US has decimated Mexican subsistence agriculture…

    I would think that decimating subsistance agriculture is a good thing. Personally, I don’t mourn the loss of a lifestyle that largely consists of poverty, ignorance and malnutrition. But then, I’m a cultural elitist.

  13. I wonder how this relates to Catholic anti birth control dogma. The peons aren’t blindly obeying any more?

    Mexico is not considered a very conservative Catholic country. Most Mexican-American Catholics I know have a far more relaxed attitude on such matters than the devout Euro-Catholics I know.

  14. Mexican-Americans, incidentally, have a higher fertility rate than Mexicans.

    Send us your poor, your tired, your horny little bastards!

  15. IDisagreeWithLoneWacko.

  16. I told you! This is just what the robots want!

  17. SM wins the thread.

  18. Larry and J –

    I too think that getting rid of subsistence agriculture is a good thing. I also think plunging birth rates is a good thing, when you get right down to it.

    I don’t see where I said that it wasn’t. I think you’re so used to hearing “Fair Trade” types lamenting the poor peasant farmer’s misfortune as agriculture in Latin America is industrialized that you just assumed I thought it was a bad thing. The same thing happened in the United States, and it was a darn GOOD thing.

  19. I reluctantly offer my services in the impregnation of hot mexican women. No fatties.

  20. Fluffy, Thanks for clearing that up. I apologize for misinterpreting your post.

  21. Fluffy, ditto.

    I guess the words “decimated” and “drove” left me with the wrong impression.

  22. Oops. That’ll teach me to change handles.

  23. “I wonder how this relates to Catholic anti birth control dogma. The peons aren’t blindly obeying any more?”

    The rise of protestant evangelism in Mexico and in Latin America in general may also be playing a role.

  24. Check out NRO this weekend… Krikorian is already making a caricature (that’s Armenian for “ass” I think) of himself trying to refute it.

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