I guess we have a new way to measure how well the middle class is feeling the economic 'recovery'. For the third straight year (despite the recovery that began in June 2009) births in the U.S. are down year over year, despite the natural growth that should occur simply from population growth.
- U.S. births apparently have declined for a third year in a row, probably because of the weak economy. Births had been on the rise for years, and the number hit an all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007. But the count has been dropping since then.
- Last year, it fell 3 percent to slightly more than 4 million births, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Experts believe the downward trend is tied to the economy, which officially was in a recession from December 2007 until June 2009 and is still flagging. The theory is that women who are unemployed or have other money problems feel they can't afford to start a family or add to it.
- In 2008 and 2009, the only increase in births was in women older than 40 -- considered more sensitive to the ticking of their biological clocks.