Room in the crib: Baby population growth slows

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WASHINGTON – Did America’s moms and dads and potential parents see the meltdown coming before the economists?

WASHINGTON – Did America’s moms and dads and potential parents see the meltdown coming before the economists?

Just before the earliest stages of the recession, there was a steep decline in the population growth of children less than a year old, newly released census figures show.

Experts have long known that with rising job cuts and home foreclosures, couples often decide the timing isn’t right to add children to their household. But the mystery here is that the pregnancy falloff reflected in the government data actually began months before Wall Street’s plunge last September.

The number of babies increased only 0.9 percent between July 2007 and July 2008, a sharp drop from the record-setting 2.7 percent growth for the preceding year.

Mississippi saw the biggest decline in the number of babies born during the year, dropping 3.9 percent, followed by Louisiana and Vermont.

On the other end of the scale, North Dakota – historically noted for losing rather than gaining population – registered a 3.9 percent increase.

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