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Mike Stobbe AP Medical Writer
Published: 17 November 2011

ATLANTA (AP) -- Health officials say birth rates for the nation's youngest mothers hit new lows last year.

It was the third straight year for a drop in national birth rates. The declines were seen in most age groups and for all races. The rates for teens and women in their early 20s were the lowest since record-keeping began in the 1940s.

U.S. births have been dropping since an all-time high in 2007. There were 4 million births last year.

Experts believe the downward trend is tied to the economy. Women with money worries may feel they can't afford to start a family or add to it.

The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was released Thursday.

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