Southwest Georgia birth rate continues to fall - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Southwest Georgia birth rate continues to fall

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July 11, 2003

Albany -- The birth rate in Southwest Georgia, like the rest of the nation, is falling again in 2003. For the third year in a row, less babies are being born in our area.

Valerie Tumlin of Leesburg is in the final stages of labor. She is surrounded by her husband Kelly and family members at Phoebe Putney Hospital, waiting for new son Tucker to be born. He will be the couple's first child .

Valerie Tumlin said "We've been married five years and we're ready to start a family. It's very exciting. I'm waiting to see him and get everything started." Kelly Tumlin said "No worries, no worries."

But there are less people in Southwest Georgia like the Tumlin's having babies. The birth rate for the last two years is down over 4 percent overall. Phoebe's Assistant Vice President of women's and children's services, Alicia Lang, said "Typically what we find, in times of war, recession, especially after 9-11, nationally birth rates have been going down. Because of uncertainty. People losing jobs, making choices not to have babies or delay."

 Anna Lane Pierce weighed 7 pounds and 9 ounces when she came into the world. Joe and Kristin Pierce's first child is a blessing to the couple. It suprises her to hear the birth rate is down. Kristin said "Yea to me it is. I've had a lot of friends who have been having babies. And a lot of people I work with. So to know that it is down really suprises me."

While the overall birth rate in Southwest Georgia falls, teen pregnancy rises. 20 percent of the babies born so far in 2003 have teenage mothers. Lang said "It's alarming the age of how young some of these moms now are, having babies."

 Valerie Tumlin's labor is going smoothly. Tucker could come at anytime. But many other South Georgians are deciding to avoid pregnancy, maybe because of the uncertain times in the world.

Georgia's overall birth rate has fallen less than one percent. But with the fast population growth of the state, any decrease shows a marked drop in the birth rate.

posted at 1:57 by jimw@walb.com