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US Birth Rate Falls for Fourth Straight Year

The number of children born in the United States fell for the fourth consecutive year in 2011, according to government reports.

Experts continue to blame America’s struggling economy for the decrease, and hypothesize that last year’s slower rate of decline (the official birth rate fell 1 percent last year as opposed to 2 and 3 percent in the years prior) could indicate financial progress.

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“It may be that the effect of the recession is slowly coming to an end," said senior demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, Carl Haub, in an interview with The Associated Press.

Prior to the recession, U.S. births per year reached a record high of 4.3 million. Last year, fewer than 4 million births were recorded: the lowest number since 1998. Should this trend continue, the birth rate is expected to hit a 25-year low in 2012.

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Demographic groups with the highest rates of decline included women in their 20s, Hispanic women, and teen moms. Rates for women in their early 30s remained stable, and births for married women and women older than 35 rose slightly.

Have you put off having more kids because of the poor economy? Let us know in the comments.