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US birth rate falls for fourth year in a row

US births have gone down for the fourth straight year.

Childbirth 2012 03 30Enlarge
A Belarussian nurse attends to newborn infants in the maternity ward of a hospital in Minsk, Belarus on Mar. 8, 2010. (VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

For the fourth year in a row, 2011 saw a decrease in the United States birth rate, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A decrease in the annual birth rate is a relatively new phenomenon in the US, the Associated Press reported. Births in the US had been on the rise and hit an all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007. But US births have since declined, with fewer than 4 million babies born in the US last year. 

That figure marks the lowest birth rate in the US since 1998, the AP reported. 

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The decline in 2011 is minor, just a 1 percent drop from 2010, Medical Daily reported. Some of the sharpest drops were in Hispanic birth rates and teen birth rates.

It also appears that more women are choosing to have children later in life. The birth rate for women aged 20- 24 declined to a historic low. In addition, the birth rate for women aged 35-39 and 40-44 actually rose, the CDC said

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