Amid a continuing recession, California recorded a decline in births last year, according to statistics released on Friday by the National Center for Health Statistics.
California, the most populous state in the nation, had 551,592 live births in 2008, compared with 566,388 in 2007, according to the report.
Experts blamed the recession for the birth decline in California, but others pointed out that fewer immigrants are coming to the country because of the hard economic times.
The report found that marriages in California actually increased in 2008 to 246,802, compared with 225,920 in 2007. No data was available for divorces in California.
California saw one of the larger declines in birth across the nation, said the report.
The nation recorded a birth decline in 2008, the first drop since the beginning of the decade.
Nationally, there were 4,247,000 births in 2008, an overall decline of 68,000 from 2007, the report said.
The report marks the first full year of the national recession.