The Ethnic Context of Mexican American Fertility

Joyce C. Abma, Lauren J. Krivo

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15 Scopus citations


Although researchers have tried to explain the relatively high fertility of Mexican Americans with both individual and contextual ethnic characteristics, evidence for the effects of contextual factors has been more consistent. Still, the means by which ethnic context influences fertility is unclear. In this paper, we seek to further clarify the ways in which the ethnic context affects Mexican American fertility by incorporating several specific contextual measures into analyses of recent births. In addition to the relative size of the Mexican American population, we include an index comprised of several indicators of the cultural environment which may foster high fertility. We alternatively test the ratio of Hispanic-to-white female unemployment as an indicator of local limitations in economic opportunities. Analyses of 1980 census data provide little support for a cultural-contextual explanation of fertility, but some support for the notion that the local context affects fertility through limiting economic opportunities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-164
Number of pages20
JournalSociological Perspectives
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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