Fewer births in US due to poor economy Pew says

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SALT LAKE CITY — The decrease of immigrant births led to an overall drop in the birth rate across the United States in 2011, new data shows.

The Pew Research Center reported 2011's birth rate as the lowest on record since the number began to be reliably tracked in the 1920's. The birth rate for 2011 was 63.2 per 1,000 women of childbearing age — an 8 percent decrease from the 2007 to 2010 period.

Among immigrant women, the rate dove even lower: a 13 percent decrease from the 2007 to 2010 period. Foreign-born women still give birth at a higher rate than natural born U.S. citizens, though. Pew said that immigrants have played a key role in birth rates since the early 20th Century and they expect that trend to continue.

The highest birth rate occurred during the baby boom years, when it reached 122.7 in 1957.

Pew cites the poor economy as the main reason for the dip. Hispanics — Mexico is the largest source country for immigrants according to Pew — were especially hard-hit in the downturn. Hispanics make up 56 percent of the births to foreign-born mothers.

Conversely, the report found that teen mothers were more likely to be U.S.-born women. In 2010, they made up 11 percent of all births, compared to 5 percent by Hispanics.

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Celeste Tholen Rosenlof


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