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5-year slide in US births ends

NEW YORK — The baby recession may be at an end: After a five-year span in which the number of children born in the United States dropped each year, 2013 saw a minute increase.

According to a new government report, the number of babies born last year rose by about 4,700, the first annual increase since 2007.

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It’s a ‘‘very, very, very slight’’ increase, said the lead author of the new report, Brady Hamilton of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Experts have been blaming the downward trend mainly on the nation’s economy, which was in recession from 2007 to 2009 and wobbly for at least two years after that. Many couples had money problems and felt they could not afford to start or add to their family, they believe.

Now the economy has picked up, and so has child-bearing, at least in women ages 30 and older. The teen birth rate dropped sharply once again, and birth rates fell for women in their 20s.

Falling deliveries was a relatively mew phenomenon in this country. Births had been on the rise since the late 1990s and hit an all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007.

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