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.
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