Birth rates in U.S. hit historic low

baby

Historically low U.S. birth rates mean just 3.8 million children were born in 2011, more than 400,000 fewer than in 2008, according to federal statistics published Wednesday.

“In 2011, there were 3.8 million live births in hospitals, which was 436,000 less or a decrease of 10.3 percent compared to 2008,” the Agency for Health Research and Quality reports.

Lots of data shows the U.S. birth rate is headed downwards, and some link this with the economic recession. The birth rate among teenagers has reached new historic lows every year for the past five years

And overall U.S. births have fallen steadily since hitting all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007.

The AHRQ also breaks down how much it costs to give birth and who pays for it. Most births are covered by private health insurance, but a growing number are paid for by Medicaid, the joint state-federal health insurance plan for the low income.

“In 2008, Medicaid covered 40.5 percent of hospital stays for newborns, which increased to 44.7 percent in 2011,” the report reads.

“On average, newborns stayed in the hospital for 3.4 days and incurred average hospital costs of $3,200,” it adds. But premature babies stayed on average 14 days and their care cost $21,500.