U.S. Birthrates Down for Fourth Consecutive Year
U.S. births fell for the fourth year in a row, the government reports with experts calling it more proof that the weak economy has continued to dampen enthusiasm for having children. But there may be a silver lining: the decline in 2011 was just 1 percent —not as sharp a fall-off as the 2 to 3 percent drop seen in other recent years.
“It may be that the effect of the recession is slowly coming to an end,” says Carl Haub, a senior demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization. Most striking in the new report were steep declines in Hispanic birth rates and a new low in teen births. Hispanics have been disproportionately affected by the flagging economy, experts say, and teen birth rates have been falling for 20 years.
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