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Published March 19 2009

US births in 2007 break 1950s-era records; North Dakota births up as well

ATLANTA – A record-setting number of babies were born in the United States in 2007, and it may prove to be just another reminder of prosperity lost.

In good times, we reproduce. In bad times, we don’t.

Health officials on Wednesday released a statistical snapshot of the good times: Births in this country topped 4.3 million in 2007, more than any other year in the nation’s history, surpassing the peak during the post-World War II baby boom 50 years earlier.

Many of those babies were conceived in 2006, when the economy was relatively good. A nation’s birth rate tends to rise in times of prosperity, according to experts.

And for that reason, this baby boomlet could end abruptly in 2008. Some think birth rates are already declining.

In North Dakota, state health officials said the state’s birth rate has been climbing and more babies are being born to unwed mothers.

Health officials report 8,818 resident births in the state in 2007, the most recent figures available. It works out to a birth rate of 13.73 births per 1,000 women.

Births to unwed mothers were at 32 percent, up from 31.7 percent in 2006.

Health officials say the baby boom is a high in recent years, though not a record. The number of resident births totaled 8,616 in 2006, a rate of 13.42 per 1,000 women.