A Hispanic name - Josť - No. 1
for Arizona boys
CAPITOL MEDIA SERVICES
Jan. 4, 2005
By Howard Fischer
PHOENIX - Tom, Dick and Harry are
being replaced in Arizona by Josť, Angel and
For the first time ever, the most
popular given name for baby boys born in the
state is Hispanic. Parents last year gave the
name Josť to 593 youngsters, edging out Jacob,
which had been the most popular for the four
And Michael, the most popular
name a decade earlier - as well as in 1984 and
1974 - now has slipped to sixth place. What's
behind the shift? Arizonans who identify
themselves as Hispanic are out-reproducing
everyone else in the state.
Among girls, Emily remains the
top choice of new parents for the third year in
a row. That is a sharp contrast with the prior
three decades, when names like Jessica and
Jennifer were at the top of the charts.
Christopher Mrela, assistant
registrar of vital statistics for the state
Department of Health Services, said 39,101
babies were born to Hispanic women in 2003 - the
most recent figures available - versus 38,842
born to non-Hispanic whites. That was the first
year this has occurred.
What makes it all the more
remarkable is that Hispanics make up less than
30 percent of the state population, according to
the U.S. Census Bureau.
Jim Haynes, president of the
Behavior Research Center research and polling
firm, said business people and politicians need
to take notice.
"They'd better start
understanding what the various segments of the
Latino population mean to them, either as
customers or as voters," he said.
Mrela said the figures - and the
trends - reflect the "fertility rate."
Among Hispanics, there were 116.1
births for each 1,000 women ages 15 through 44.
The next-most-fertile group consisted of
American Indians at 84.6 births per 1,000 - 72
for non-Hispanic whites.
Mrela said the sharply increasing
birth rate among Hispanics is a relatively
recent phenomenon. He said this rate had been
relatively stable before taking off in 1980.
He also said the exploding
Hispanic birth rate appears to be "an urban
phenomenon," confined largely to Pima, Maricopa,
Pinal and Yuma counties. By contrast, he said,
the birth rate among Hispanics - as well as
others - has remained relatively stable in the
other 11, more rural, counties.
Haynes said his own firm's
research has found that the higher birth rates
generally are concentrated among first- and
second-generation immigrants. He said those with
longer family histories in Arizona tend to
become more like the Anglo population, including
having more children.
Neither Haynes nor Mrela would
speculate on when Hispanics might become a
majority of Arizona residents.