A Bad Economy Means Fewer Babies

When times are tight, it's tough raising a family; and the contemporary economy has taken a statistical toll on America's households: Since 2007, the number of U.S. births has declined consistently, according to new CDC numbers reported by the AP. The number now hovers just above 4 million, down 3 percent. It's also possible, the AP notes, that the lower figure is due to a drop in immigration, thanks to a tanking job market.

Births had been on the rise for years, and the number hit an all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007.

But the count has been dropping since then. Last year, it fell 3 percent to slightly more than 4 million births, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It's possible the decline is leveling off: The falling birth rate seemed to bottom out in October, November and December. However, it's too early to say whether that marks an end to the trend, said Paul Sutton, a CDC demographer who was the report's lead author.

Read the full story at the Associated Press.

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John Hendel is a writer based in Washington, DC, and a former producer at The Atlantic.

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