Is a crummy economy leading to fewer child births in our country? That's the takeaway from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that utilized 2011 birth certificate data and was released Wednesday, at least according to those whose job it is to interpret such things.
As detailed by the Associated Press, U.S. births fell for the fourth consecutive year in 2011, down 1 percent.
While the decline wasn't as sharp as it has been in recent years - when U.S. births fell by 1 or 2 percent - the economic woes our country has been mired in since the recession hit in 2007 is still believed to be the leading factor in the declining reproduction efforts of the masses.
The theory behind this assumption, as noted by the AP, is fairly simple: Women and couples worried about money and their future economic viability are less inclined to pop out kids ... because, you know, the little bastards are expensive.
This, according to experts cited by the AP, is the reason fewer than 4 million kids were born in 2011 - a total that constitutes the lowest number of births since 1998.
However, as noted above, the overall decline in 2011 was only 1 percent, as compared to the 2- and 3-percent drops of recent years past, with this taken by some as a sign fears about the economy may be lessening.
As the AP notes:
"It may be that the effect of the recession is slowly coming to an end," said Carl Haub, a senior demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization.
Other aspects of the study revealed a number of interesting trends, including suggesting that Hispanics continue to be wary of having children in a down economy, and that fewer teens than ever before are getting knocked up - a trend that has been growing for two decades.
More from the AP:
Most striking in the new report were steep declines in Hispanic birth rates and a new low in teen births. Hispanics have been disproportionately affected by the flagging economy, experts say, and teen birth rates have been falling for 20 years.
You can find the AP's full take on the Centers for Disease Control study here, which includes data on birth rates for single women, married women, women in the 20s, women in their early 30s, woman in their late 30s, women who like grilled cheese (just kidding), and plenty more.