Report Finds U.S. Birth Rate Has Dropped to Lowest Level Since 1920

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The U.S. birth rate fell to its lowest levels ever last year, according to a preliminary report released by the Pew Research Center on Thursday. Researchers said that the U.S.'s birth rate in 2011, which was estimated at 63.2 births per 1,000 women, "is the lowest since at least 1920, the earliest year for which there are reliable numbers."

Of particular note to researchers was the fact that the birth rate among foreign-born women and immigrant women appears to have fallen particularly sharply. Foreign-born women account for what the researchers referred to as a "disproportionate" number of U.S. births, and have done so for some time.

Here are some of the key numbers that emerged from the Pew Research Center's report on Thursday.

122.7: The recorded birth rate in 2011 is half that recorded in 1957, the peak year of the "Baby Boom."

8: The overall U.S. birth rate declined by 8 percent between 2007 and 2010, according to the center's report.

14: The birth rate among foreign-born women declined more dramatically during that same period of time than that of U.S.-born women, at 14 percent compared to 6 percent.

23: The birth rate among Mexican immigrant women revealed the sharpest decline, at 23 percent.

2.1: The average number of children that a U.S. woman would need to have in order to maintain current population levels, according to a report by the Washington Post. The current national average is 1.9 children per woman in the U.S.

9: As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced earlier this year, the teen birth rate fell 9 percent between 2009 and 2010, dropping to the lowest rate it has been in the last 70 years. According to the Pew Research Center's report, however, U.S.-born teens still account for 11 percent of all U.S. births, while foreign-born U.S. teens account for an additional 5 percent of all U.S. births.

66: Among U.S.-born women, white women accounted for 66 percent of all births, while Hispanic women accounted for the majority of births among foreign-born U.S. women, at 56 percent.

4.0: Some 4 million babies were born to women in the U.S. in 2011, according to the Pew Research Center's numbers. 3.1 million were born to U.S.-born women, while an additional 930,000 were born to immigrant women.

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in health and nutrition issues.

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