The 2010 prelimiary birth rate statistics are now available from the CDC. [Note: I`m having trouble opening that link, so you might want to wait until Wednesday to try it.]
They revised the birth rates according to the 2010 Census results. Yet again, 2010 continues a trend of the recent recession and poor economy throwing White America into a briar patch. White Americans recorded 1.80 children/woman in 2010; the rates earlier in the decade were revised UP slightly because the Census found fewer non-Hispanic whites than they expected.
The formerly high-flying Hispanic birth rate continues to tank, down about 0.5 child/woman since 2007, and is now down to 2.35. The absolute number of births to Hispanic women fell from 1,062,779 in 2007 to 946,000 in 2010; the drop in fertility is therefore real.
Demographer Emilio A. Parrado argues that Hispanic fertility tends to be concentrated in recent immigrants. I interpret his data as showing that foreigners who can`t afford to have as many children as they want in their own countries move to U.S. to have lots of children, which they quickly do.
You often hear these days in discussions of the Coming Hispanic Tsunami that immigration doesn`t matter any more, it`s the high Hispanic fertility that means that the cake is already baked. But, that`s not quite as sophisticated a view as its proponents think. A more subtle insight is that high Hispanic fertility is driven in sizable part by new immigration. The current decline in illegal immigration that appears to have begun with the popping of the subprime bubble in 2007 is significantly lowering overall Hispanic fertility.
Without significant immigration restrictions, however, Hispanic fertility will boom again the next time the economy does well because so many of the births are concentrated among recent illegal immigrants.
The rate for blacks has been tracking whites pretty consistently at about 0.2 child/woman higher since 2002. The recession seems to have hit them marginally in 2008, but quite a bit more in 2010, closely paralleling the loss in government jobs (which started later than those in the private sector, and which is continuing).
Asian rates have been revised to below whites since 1997 by about 0.1 child/woman, except for 2000 (due to the Chinese calendar, I guess; there was a similar spike in 1988). The recent economic troubles have also hurt their rate more than whites`.
For American Indians, it`s down to 1.4 child/woman, although I don`t believe this, since births in Indian-heavy states like the Dakotas and Montana suggest a rate of about 2.1.