U.S. Births Decline; Economy to Blame?

About 4.1 Million Babies Were Born in the U.S. in 2009, a 2.6% Decline From 2008, the CDC Says

By Bill Hendrick
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Laura J. Martin, MD

Aug. 27, 2010 -- The number of babies born in the United States declined an estimated 2.6% in 2009 compared to the previous year, the CDC says. And it may be the result of the downturn in the economy.

The new report, by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, says provisional data indicate that an estimated 4,136,000 babies were born in 2009, compared to 4,247,000 in 2008.

The report also found that:

  • Births also dropped in 2008, compared to the previous year, with an estimated 4,251,095 babies born.
  • In the preliminary analysis for 2008, births dropped for women under 40, but increased for women 40 and over. The decline in births in 2009 may well be associated with the severe downturn in the U.S. economy, which started late in 2007. But it's too early to know for sure until more statistics are available.

Preliminary Data

The statistics are contained in National Vital Statistics Reports, a publication of the CDC and its National Center for Health Statistics.

It presents early data from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., plus Puerto Rico, but stresses the statistics are preliminary.

The study also reports that:

  • The busiest month for births in 2009 was July, when 369,000 babies were born. In 2008, July also witnessed the greatest number of births, 376,000.
  • California had the most live births in both years, 530,659 in 2009, down from 551,592 in 2008.
  • The fewest number of births in 2009 occurred in Vermont, where 6,118 live births were recorded. Vermont also had the fewest births in 2008 -- 6,275. California reported the most marriages for the second straight year, 213,922, down considerably from 247,022 in 2008. Washington, D.C., reported the fewest number of marriages in 2009 at 1,892, a significant drop from 2,367 in 2008.


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SOURCES: Tejada-Vera, B. National Vital Statistics Reports, Aug. 27, 2010; vol 58.

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