From today's New York Times...
For the first time since the decade began, Americans are having fewer babies, and some experts are blaming the economy.
“It’s the recession,” said Andrew Hacker, a sociologist at Queens College of the City University of New York. [snip]
In 2007, the number of births in the United States broke a 50-year-old record high, set during the baby boom. But last year, births began to decline nationwide, by nearly 2 percent, according to provisional figures released last week. [snip]
Historically, birth rates have fluctuated with the economy. Record lows were recorded during two economic crises: the Depression in the 1930s and the Arab oil embargo in the 1970s.
**UPDATE, AUG. 7, 2009**
A nice chart from Carl Haub and the Population Research Bureau (July 2009).
Click to increase the size.
The U.S. fertility rate has been around 2.1 for about 20 straight years - a remarkable stretch of stability overall. Obviously, in light of the economy and today's report, it seems likely the number will dip below 2.0 and remain there for at least the next several years (a la the 1970s).