If you believe that children are our future, you may be disheartened to learn that fewer children are being born in California. Numbers from the California Department of Public Health show a marked decline in birth rates, reaching a level that many experts say is the lowest in history.

In 2010, the most recent year for statewide statistics, only 63 babies were born per 1,000 women of fertility ageā€”that is, 15 to 44 years old. Just four years earlier, the rate was 71.3, which itself was down from 75.5 in 1995.

Butte County had the 11th-lowest rate in the state at 51 babies per 1,000 fertile-aged women. Interestingly, one county neighbor, Glenn, posted the seventh-highest rate, 71.9.