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US Births Remain Steady in 2012

A newborn baby lies smiling on a white blanket.
A newborn baby (Image credit: <a href='http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=62604862&src=id'>Newborn baby photo</a> via Shutterstock)

The number of babies born yearly in the United States appears to be leveling off, after declining for the last few years, a new report says.

In 2012, there were 3,958,000 babies born in the United States, according to early estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's about the same as the number of births in 2011, the report says.

The number of U.S. births has been declining since 2007, when a record-breaking 4,316,233 babies were born —more births than at the height of the baby boom in the 1950s.

But the downward trend slowed between 2010 and 2011, and "essentially flattened" between 2011 and 2012, the report says.

The country's birth rate has followed a similar trend, peaking in 2007 at 69.3 births per 1,000 women, and declining until 2011, after which it stabilized. In 2012, there were 63.2 births per 1,000 women between ages 15 and 44, essentially the same as the rate in 2011, the report says.

The report is published today (June 6) by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

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Rachael Rettner
Rachael has been with Live Science since 2010. She has a masters degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.