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While Minnesota's birthrate still declines, more diversity born

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While Minnesota's birthrate continues to lag behind pre-recession levels, for the first time in state history more Minnesota babes are identifying as children of color a new report from the Minnesota State Demographer Center finds.

In line with national trends, Minnesota children will grow up with more cultural diversity. One in six children in 2012 was born to a mother who was born outside of the U.S. In 1990 it was one out of every 20. Mexicans and Somalis top the list of foreign-born Minnesota mothers.

The state report concludes "cultural competency" will be important in public education, where teachers will work with "these growing numbers of youth whose influences span the globe, and culturally-tailored approaches may be needed in the classroom, the clinic, and other spheres of public life. The growing racial and cultural diversity seen among births will continue to diversify the total population of the state."

It’s a modest increase in total births statewide with 69,183 births in 2013, which is 400 more than 2012. This number, however is still 4,500 fewer births than the state saw in 2007 pre-recession. The 2007 number was the highest the state had seen in four decades.

“Typically after a recession we expect a rebound in births, because everyone will decide that they’re feeling economically secure at about the same time. We haven’t seen that yet,” state demographer Susan Brower tells the Star Tribune.

The birth increase is outpaced by total population growth, and the birthrate fell slightly to 12.8 babies per 1,000 Minnesotans in 2013, the St. Cloud Times reports. The fertility rate for women of color has declined in the past four years but, it is still higher than white birthrates.

The Star Tribune notes low birth rates mean a smaller workforce and tax base to pay for Minnesota's aging population.

"A boom in childbirths would help the economy by prompting more consumer spending and forcing families to buy more new homes," the Star Tribune reports.

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