Getty Images, photo by Sean Gallup

For the fourth year in a row the U.S. birth rate has fallen according to the latest government figures. The birth rate had been on the rise since the 1990s, and hit an all-time high in 2007 but in recent years the rate has fallen by nearly 3 percent.

The falling birth rate is something new for the United States with fewer than 4 million births counted last year, the lowest number since 1998. People that study this type of thing are pointing to the bad economy as the culprit for the decline, pointing out more people are unemployed or have money problems and feel it is not the right time to have children.

Even though the government says the recession ended in 2009, many people remain cautious because of the slow housing market, poor job hiring and other factors. One of the big factors for the declining birth rate is the fact that Hispanic women giving birth dropped 6 percent. The trend across most ethnic backgrounds seems to be women are waiting longer until they become mothers with more and more women being married older and more financially secure.