The birthrate in the United States fell for the fourth year in a row, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Experts said the falling birthrate is proof that the weak economy is dampening enthusiasm for having children.
The CDC report, released Wednesday, is a first glimpse at 2011 birth certificate data from state health departments. More analysis will be released later, but officials don't expect the numbers to change much.
Births had been on the rise between the late 1990s. The all time high hit more than 4.3 million in 2007.
The decline in the number of births in 2011 was just 1 percent, compared to 2 to 3 percent in other recent years.
"It may be that the effect of the recession is slowly coming to an end," said Carl Haub, a senior demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization.