Why do Mexicans Have so Many Kids? It’s a stereotype, by now it is probably untrue… but it is not entirely inaccurate, that of a dozen kids piling into the single car of a Mexican family. I myself only have one sibling and by Mexican standard that makes for a very small family. My parents also came from relatively small families: my mother as one of four children and my father the same. I do have a couple of aunts and uncles who have had five children and. That seems to be a little more like it.
It does beg the question: what’s up with Mexicans having so many kids?
This query does not have one simple answer but I have my theories. First, there’s the reason that all agriculture based economies had so many kids. Just like America prior to WW2, families on the farm needed the farm hands. Same goes for Mexican farms. But that isn’t the only answer.
The second reason off the top of my head is Catholicism. There are some strict interpretations of the Bible that some argue prohibit any and all forms of birth control. The old catholic guilt will tell you that the only purpose for sex is to procreate. In fact the only reason a man’s seed should ever leave his body is for this reason otherwise he is guilty of onanism (which is just a fancy dirty word named after Onan, a guy from the Bible).
Cultural values of Mexicans
Third, it’s just one of the dominant cultural values, because Mexican families place great value on the family and on taking care of one another in a way that is very different from American values. It isn’t as common or acceptable for a child to go away to college far away and never return. Nor is it considered acceptable to place the old and infirmed in an old-folks home. The elders are to stay with the family and that’s that. This sense of family togetherness is related to the desire to have a large family.
So, why do Mexicans Have so Many Kids?
Therefore, I don’t really think there is much else to it than that: the farm, the no-birth-control-of-any-kind, and the family togetherness. To those of you who are waiting to start a family I would suggest this: don’t even look at a Mexican woman the wrong way, especially if she still has her catholic school uniform, because you could end up a daddy before you know it.
Originally published in HispanicLA in 2010.
Eric Valenzuela has continually transplanted himself, moving from one major city to another. He was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, has resided in San Francisco on two separate occasions (including a stint in Vallejo - the first American city to go bankrupt!), and now comes to you from New York City. Eric defines himself as a graduate student, writer, lover, former inmate, and sarcastic guy who desperately misses In-N-Out Burger and rocketing in his Mustang convertible which was left in California. He likes dogs, rock music, tacos and Italian food. Eric periodically writes in two blogs of his own: Transplanted (http://trans-plant.blogspot.com) and I'm Supposed to be Mexican (http://www.imsupposedtobemexican.com) and now he will also be sharing some of his stories with us at HispanicLA.com.