U.S. Birth Rate Hits New Low

08.31.10 Drop in number of babies born in the United States linked to recession, experts say

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The recession has taken its toll on another aspect of American life: babies. New federal figures show that there were 13.5 live births in 2009 for every 1,000 people in the U.S., down from 13.9 in 2008, The Associated Press reports—and experts say that the recession is behind this drop.

The latest birth rate is also a decline from 14.3 in the boom year of 2007, just before the recession officially began, according to the most recent statistics released by the National Centers for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 2009 figure is the lowest birth rate in a century, plus it's the second consecutive year that the rate has seen a dip. Experts note that it's the worst decline in births since the Great Depression, when people delayed having babies in the face of financial devastation.

"When the economy is bad and people are uncomfortable about their financial future, they tend to postpone having children," one expert was quoted by the AP.

Another possible factor for fewer births: a decline in immigration to the U.S., according to AP.

An uncertain economy can mean bye-bye baby for some couples and families. Baby-related expenses can be overwhelming. Check out our step-by-step plan on how to get a handle on the costs. Plus, from crib to college, our financial guide for your first year as new parents.

When it comes to making a plan, maybe it's better to see it in dollars and cents (quiz time!): Can you afford a baby? And if you do start "trying" and want to be a stay-at-home parent, here's how to make it happen on one income.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.