The U.S. seems to be experiencing a baby boomlet, bucking the trend in many other wealthy industrialized nations. The nearly 4.3 million births in 2006 mark the largest number of children born in 45 years.
An Associated Press review of birth numbers dating to 1909 found
the total number of U.S. births was the highest since 1961, near
the end of the baby boom. A look at global data also shows that the
United States has a higher fertility rate than every country in
continental Europe, as well as Australia, Canada and Japan.
Hispanics accounted for nearly one-quarter of all U.S. births.
But non-Hispanic white women and other racial and ethnic groups
were having more babies, too.
Experts list a mix of reasons: a decline in contraceptive use, a
drop in access to abortion, poor education and poverty. They also
say Americans simply "like" children -- viewing them more
favorably than people in many other Westernized countries.