ATLANTA (AP) -- After falling four years in a row, U.S. births may finally be leveling off.
A new government report finds nearly 4 million babies were born in 2012, only a few hundred less than in 2011. And, the birth rate for women in their early 30s inched up for the first time since 2007.
Falling births is a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S. Births were on the rise and hit an all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007.
The drop coincided with the beginning of the Great Recession. Experts say many women or couples who were out of work or had other money problems felt they couldn't afford to start or add to their family.
Polls show most Americans remained gloomy about the economy well into 2001, citing anemic hiring, a depressed housing market and other factors. But experts say the latest birth figures suggest that fewer couples are now being scared away from having children because of the economy.
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