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Birth Rates In Mexico Could Mean Fewer Immigrants In The US

Audio

Aired 7/9/10

Polls show a majority of Americans agree with Arizona's new anti-immigration law. But a U-S-C professor says the number of undocumented Mexicans in the U-S could start to decline in about five years. KPBS reporter Sarah Gonzalez has more on that part of the story.

Polls show a majority of Americans agree with Arizona's new anti-immigration law, but a professor at the University of Southern California (USC) says the number of undocumented Mexicans in the U.S. could start to decline in about five years.

Researchers say high unemployment in Mexico has historically pushed immigrants into the U.S. to find work. That could soon change.

Dowell Myers is a professor of urban planning and demography at USC. He says Mexico's birth rate has dropped significantly in the past 20 years.

"The extraordinary thing, in 1970 there was 6.8 babies for every Mexican woman. 6.8 babies. 2.1 is kind of break even, balancing the population," said Myers. "Today, Mexico is moving down close to that break even point for the first time."

Myers says the change in demographics will also balance labor demands. He says more job opportunities in Mexico will mean fewer immigrants coming to the U.S.

He says lawmakers should consider the new data before crafting immigration reform laws.

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