UNDATED - Experts say the weak economy has a lot to do with the latest drop in the annual U.S. birth rate, dampening enthusiasm for starting or adding to the family.

The government says births fell for the fourth year in a row but the decline in 2011 was just one percent. It was two to three percent in other recent years.

St. Cloud seems to be mirroring the national trends as well.  Birth numbers from the St. Cloud Hospital have declined each of the past five years.  In 2007 there were 2,866 babies born at the hospital, last year that number was down to 2,662.

Nationally, births had been on the rise between the late 1990s, and the all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007.