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Births now surpass immigration as driver of Latino growth in US

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(Read caption) In this 2008 file photo, a Spanish version of a Nevada voter registration form is seen in Las Vegas. With immigration slowing, babies born in the U.S. rather than newly arrived Mexican immigrants are now driving most of the fast growth in the Latino population.

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Births have surpassed immigration as the main driver of the dynamic growth in the US Hispanic population. This new trend is especially evident among the largest of all Hispanic groups-Mexican-Americans, according to a new analysis of US Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center. Click here for the summary of, and link to, the report.

In the decade from 2000 to 2010, the Mexican-American population grew by 7.2 million as a result of births and 4.2 million as a result of new immigrant arrivals. This is a change from the previous two decades when the number of new immigrants either matched or exceeded the number of births. The current surge in births among Mexican-Americans is largely attributable to the immigration wave that has brought more than 10 million immigrants to the United States from Mexico since 1970.

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Between 2006 and 2010 alone, more than half (53 percent) of all Mexican-American births were to Mexican immigrant parents. As a group, these immigrants are more likely than US-born Americans to be in their prime child-bearing years. They also have much higher fertility.

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Kevin R. Johnson is dean and professor of law at the University of California, Davis, School of Law. He is an editor of ImmigrationProf Blog.