Fertility or Birth Rate? What Jeb Bush Really Meant

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco

Jeb Bush got the Twtitter to flutter over the weekend because of something he said. He was speaking at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Washington when he made this statement:

“Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans. Immigrants are more fertile, and they love families, and they have more intact families, and they bring a younger population. Immigrants create an engine of economic prosperity.”

Tweets went nuts. Anytime you reduce a segment of a population to a single biological dimension, you’re asking for trouble. But that’s the trouble with Twitter. Bush said more than that, and Twitter filtered then magnified the “fertile” part.

Also, there is a difference between fertility and birthrate. One describes a capacity to reproduce, the other a verifiable statistical fact.  Bush mixed the one for the other. It was an unfortunate choice of words, but with that said …

The Pew Research Center released a report last November that said that the birth rate for immigrant women (87.8 per 1000) was higher than for native-born women (58.9 per 1000).

I’m standing with Jeb Bush on this one. Latino immigrants are fertile, in the birthrate sense.

I’m embellishing a little. But I’ll put the embellishment on my shoulders: Jeb said that immigrants are fertile, I added the “Latino” part. Because to be honest, that’s what Jeb meant. The Latino population in the U.S. has surged in the past decade, a fact that made marketers and politicians gasp when the Census numbers were released in February of 2011. Since then it’s all we’ve been talking about, in some way.

I agree that it may have been an indelicate way of saying it, but if you take the word in a larger sense, say creative instead of fertile, the meaning tweaks but the idea is the same. Latinos (immigrants) create businesses, and opportunities, and futures, and babies.

It’s not a new idea. My friend and NewsTaco founder Carlos Guerra was fond of saying that the next Latino political headline was being written in the bedrooms of the Westside of San Antonio. He said that before the 2010 Census; he saw it coming and predicted the wave. To his credit, Carlos never said it in public nor did he write it for publication. But he always said it with a sparkle in his eye.

To Jeb’s discredit, he made the “fertile” remark in public, and his eye didn’t sparkle. But Jeb and Carlos were talking about the same thing.

It’s times like these that I wonder what Carlos would have Tweeted in response to Jeb’s remark …

[Photo by Herkie]

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