June 16, 2011

Economy May Affect US Birth Numbers

For a third year in a row, births in the United States have declined and the weak economy may have a factor in the low numbers, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

An all-time high of more than 4.3 million births occurred in 2007, but since then birth counts have been dropping.

According to preliminary figures released by the CDC, birth numbers fell by 3 percent to a little more than 4 million births last year.

Although it is possible that the decline is slowing down as the rates have seem to bottom out in October, November and December, but CDC demographer and lead author of the report Paul Sutton says that it is too early to tell.

The downward trend is believed by experts to be tied to the weak economy.

From December 2007 to June 2009, the U.S. economy faced a recession, which is still present today.

The only increase in births for 2008 and 2009 were in women older than 40 who most likely were answering the call of their biological ticking clocks, reports the AP.

Experts theorize that unemployed women or those with money problems feel that they can't afford to start a family or add to their current one.

Furthermore, it is also possible that the weak job market resulted in a drop of immigration to the United States, and may be another factor for the birth rate decline.

"Hispanics have higher birth rates," Dr. Roger Rochat, a researcher at Emory University who studied fertility and abortion trends, told the Associated Press.

The figures from the report only show a first glimpse of births in 2010 from state health department and does not include any actual review of birth certificates or specifics about what's going on in different groups of women, reports the AP.

More analysis by the CDC is being planned, but officials say that the number is usually very close to the final statistics.


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