RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) -- Officials say the number of births in South Dakota is down by more than 400 through October as the state continues a three-year trend of declining birth rates.

The state Health Department says there have been 9,594 births in South Dakota through October. That's down more than 4 percent from the five-year average.

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State epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger tells the Rapid City Journal that the fewer number of births reflects a national trend that may be recession-related.

South Dakota's lower birth rate mirrors a nationwide plunge in births since 2008.

A new Pew Research Center analysis of census data shows that only North Dakota, Nebraska and Alaska saw small increases in their birth rates between 2008 and 2010.

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