It may be because of the economy:
The reason for the record low remains unclear, but some experts attributed the two-year decline to the recession, noting that the overall fertility rate as well as the total number of births in the United States declined the second straight year in 2009 as well.
"I would not have guessed that teenagers would be most responsive to the economic downturn, but maybe we need to revise our stereotypes," said Samuel Preston, a professor of demography at the University of Pennsylvania.
Brown and others agreed:
"When money is very tight, all of us think harder about taking risks, expanding our families, taking on new responsibilities," Brown said. "Now I know that teens may not be as savvy about money as those in their 20s and 30s - they probably don't stress over 401(k)s like the rest of us -- but many teens live with financially stressed adults, and they see neighbors and older friends losing jobs and even losing houses. So they, too, feel the squeeze and may be reacting to it by being more prudent. . . . Maybe part of tightening our belts includes keeping our zippers closed, too!"
That fits with earlier research released in the spring by the Pew Research Center, which found that states hit hardest by the recession experienced the biggest drops in births.
"Our evidence definitely suggested there was a link between the economic circumstances and what was going on with fertility," said Gretchen Livingston, a Pew senior researcher. "I suspect that's what we're seeing with these lower number. This fits with the historical picture as well."