White, black, and Hispanic birth rates by state

In the comments of a previous post, I wondered to what extent intra-state birth rates correlated across racial groups. That is, in states where white fertility is high, are black and Hispanic fertility rates also high?

I am unable to find birth rates broken down by race at the state level, but the Kaiser Family Foundation (which maintains a fantastic, data-rich website) does provide live births by race at the state level with data as recent as 2008 and accompanying data from 2009 on population by race at the state level. From that, I was able to compute birth rates per 1,000 people for whites, blacks, and Hispanics in each state*. For the handful of states with insufficient data on black population sizes, the US Census quick facts page is used as a supplemental.

Turns out the correlations are pretty weak: White and black birth rates correlate at a statistically insignificant .14, white and Hispanic birth rates at .27, and black and Hispanic birth rates at a statistically insignificant (.03).

White birth rates (map here) are highest in the Rocky Mountain states and the Midwest, middling in the South, and lowest on the coasts. The one seeming outlier is Hawaii, which shows the highest white fertility rate of any state in the country. Hawaii's population is not young (although I'm not able to find age broken down by race, and a majority of Hawaii's population is Asian or Pacific Islander), so I'm not sure if this is the result of a data transcription error, or if the relatively large percentage of Hawaii's whites who are in the military has something to do with it. Hawaii's overall birth rate is tied for ninth highest in the nation, and its black and Hispanic birth rates are also correspondingly high, so it might be accurate. Far less surprisingly, Mormon Utah comes in at #2.

Black birth rates (map here) are highest in Upper Midwestern states where blacks receive large welfare distributions relative to whites compared to black/white welfare recipient rates in other states. I'm bemused by Maine's high rate, only being able to point out that numbering fewer than 14,000, the black population there is extremely small. The South, where the largest share of the country's black population is concentrated, in contrast, has relatively lower and more middling rates, while birth rates for blacks are lowest in Rocky Mountain states and the Southwest.

Hispanic birth rates (map here) are probably the least reliable and also the least geographically consistent due to states with small Hispanic populations not accurately accounting for the sizes of their respective illegal residents, which may partially explain why rates show up as being astronomical in South Carolina. In contrast, states with large Hispanic populations--most notably the border states--have relatively low fertility rates. It should be noted, though, that Hispanic birth rates are generally considerably higher than black and especially white birth rates across the board. Nationwide, the Hispanic birth rate is nearly double the white birth rate.

* The rates are a bit lower than I'd expect based on national figures across the board (about 80% of states come in with a birth rate among whites that is lower than the national average), for reasons I'm not exactly sure of. Take the maps in more for comparative purposes than for exacting fertility rate measurements by race and state.