ETHNICITY AND FERTILITY: THE FERTILITY EXPECTATIONS AND FAMILY SIZE OF MEXICAN-AMERICAN AND ANGLO ADOLESCENTS AND ADULTS, HUSBANDS AND WIVES (BIRTHS, HISPANIC).
AuthorSORENSON, ANN MARIE.
KeywordsFertility, Human -- Arizona.
Mexican Americans -- Arizona.
Fertility, Human -- Southwest, New.
Family size -- Southwest, New -- Religious aspects.
Family size -- Economic aspects -- Southwest, New.
Arizona -- Population.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractBecause pronatalist sentiments may be an important aspect of Mexican-American ethnic heritage, this research focuses on cultural as well as socioeconomic factors which may contribute to higher Mexican-American fertility. Language use and nativity are used as indirect indicators of identification with an ethnic culture. Wives' characteristics are generally considered adequate to the study of couples' fertility, but in light of earlier research by the author indicating the importance of cultural factors to the fertility expectations of Mexican-American adolescent males, characteristics of husbands as well as wives are included in this analysis. For this reason, the sample, which is drawn from the 1980 Census data for Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico, is limited to Mexican-American and Anglo women who have been married only once and live with their husbands. Two complementary methods of analysis are used. Linear regression describes the significance of husband's and wife's language use, nativity, and socioeconomic characteristics to mean family size. Parity progression ratios are used to study the contribution of these variables to the likelihood of the addition of one more child at each stage of the family building process. While wife's characteristics are sufficient to account for most of the variation observed in Anglo fertility, husband's socioeconomic characteristics significantly contribute to variation observed in the fertility of Mexican-American couples. Husbands' identification with Mexican-American culture may be somewhat more important to couples' fertility than that of their wives. This is consistent with research which suggests that children are more central to male sex role expectations as they are expressed in the context of Mexican-American culture than in that of Anglos. The measures of ethnic identity used in this study are clearly associated with socioeconomic status. The differential fertility of Anglos and Mexican Americans could be attributed to these differences. The association of Spanish language use and fertility has been linked to the lower opportunity costs represented by additional children to women who do not speak English proficiently. However, the analysis of these data, which compares structural and cultural explanations of fertility differentials, provides evidence of cultural effects as well as the effects of socioeconomic status on fertility.