By Karen Kaplan
Los Angeles Times (MCT)
---- — LOS ANGELES — Talk about consistency: An estimated 3,958,000 babies were born in the U.S. in 2012, a mere 4,407 more than in 2011. That amounts to a difference of only slightly more than 0.1 percent.
The figures were released yesterday by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brady Hamilton and Paul Sutton noted that births in the U.S. had been on a steady decline since 2007, when a record-high 4,316,233 new Americans came into the world.
August was the busiest month for the nation’s maternity wards, with 362,000 births. The month with the fewest births was February, when 305,000 babies were born. However, January had the lowest rate of births among women of childbearing age (i.e., between the ages of 15 and 44).
The preliminary baby count for 2012 is based on reports of live births provided by states.
The fertility rate in the U.S. was also essentially flat in 2012, at 63.2 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age.
In 2011, the fertility rate was 63.4 births per 1,000 women. Those figures represent a significant decline since 2007, when there were 69.3 babies born for every 1,000 women of childbearing age.
The statisticians also reported 23,300 infant deaths for 2012, down from 23,900 in 2011. These were cases of babies who died before reaching their first birthday.