Babies? Not in this economy. US birth rates plummet for fourth year

October 7, 2012 • United States, Daily Email Recap

The following article is from the Christian Science Monitor and reports on a drop from the most recent “peak births” moment in the United States (4.3 million in 2007). Not unusually, the article masters a subtle misleading as to overall direction of U.S. population. The article also throws in some aging population and economic growth fears at the end for good measure. But there does seem to be some good news on teenage pregnancy.

Babies? Not in this economy. US birth rates plummet for fourth year

Birthrates have been declining for the past four years, according to a government report on Wednesday. It’s a new phenomenon for a country with rising populations rates since the 1990s.


U.S. births fell for the fourth year in a row, the government reported Wednesday, with experts calling it more proof that the weak economy has continued to dampen enthusiasm for having children.

But the decline in 2011 was just 1 percent – not as sharp a fall-off as the 2 to 3 percent drop seen in recent years.

“It may be that the effect of the recession is slowly coming to an end,” said Carl Haub, a senior demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, a research organization.


Most striking were steep declines in Hispanic birth rates and a new low in teen births. Hispanics have been disproportionately affected by the poor economy, experts say, and teen birth rates have been falling for 20 years.


Falling births is a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S. Births had been on the rise since the late 1990s and hit an all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007.


But fewer than 4 million births were counted last year – the lowest number since 1998.

The economy officially was in a recession from December 2007 until June 2009. But well into 2011, polls show most Americans remained gloomy, citing anemic hiring, a depressed housing market and other factors.


The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a first glimpse at 2011 birth certificate data from state health departments.


Early data for 2012 is not yet available, and it’s too soon to guess whether the birth decline will change, said the CDC’s Stephanie Ventura, one of the study’s authors.


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