The Gap between Births and Census Counts of Children Born in California: Undercount or Transnational Movement?

John Pitkin, Analysis and Forecasting, Inc.
Julie Park, University of Southern California

The 2000 Census counts of children under age 1 born in California to foreign-born mothers fell short of recorded births by 19 percent. The gap is largest for children of non-Hispanic White and Asian/Pacific Islander women. Shortfalls of children living with native-born mothers are much smaller. Domestic migration accounts for a negligible fraction of the shortfall. In the absence of direct data, we use indirect indicators of where these children were living at the time of the Census. These suggest that many of the children were no longer in the U.S. One indication is the 16 thousand U.S.-born children under age one that were enumerated in the 2000 Mexican census. No information is available on state of birth, but California's share pro-rated based on the Mexican-born population in the U.S. is 6 thousand. This is in the range of the deficit we estimate for children of Mexican-born mothers in California.

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Presented in Session 88: New Directions in Applied Demography