WASHINGTON, February 11 (RIA Novosti) - The birth rate in the United States hit an historic low in 2011, according to a report published Monday in the online medical journal Pediatrics.
The number of babies born, combined with population data, resulted in a birth rate of 12.7 births per 1,000 women in 2011, “the lowest rate ever reported in the United States,” authors of the Annual Summary of Vital Statistics said in the report.
In 2011, approximately 3.9 million babies were born in the United States down four percent from 2009 researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
The data also showed a sharp decline in the birth rate among teens between the ages 15 and 19, reaching an historic low of 31.3 births per 1,000 girls. The teen birth rate is down 49 percent from 1991, the most recent peak, the report’s authors said.
“Reasons for the declines are not clear,” the CDC’s website said. “Teens seem to be less sexually active, and more of those who are sexually active seem to be using birth control than in previous years.”
According to the study's authors, 3.6 million more babies would have been born to teenage girls over the past two decades if the teen birth rate had not been on the decline.
The report also found a decreased birth rate among women in their 20s, down from 90 per 1,000 women in 2010 to 85.3 per 1,000 women in 2011, another record low for the United States researchers said.
Analysts have said the economy and mounting student loan debt are factors that have led many women in their 20s to defer parenthood until a later age.
To further support that theory, the birth rate of women between the ages of 35 through 39 and 40 through 44 have increased the study found.
Data from the report was provided and analyzed by researchers from the CDC, the National Center for Health Statistics, and researchers from Maryland’s Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The United States is one of several developed countries suffering from a decline in birth rates including Austria, Germany, and Russia according to an April 2012 story in the New York Times.
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