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HOUSTON - Four minutes into the New Year, Jesse Emmanuel Espinoza embarked on this journey called life.

Happy that he s healthy, Susanna Garcia, his mother, said Tuesday.

Young Jesse s world is evolving.

I hope he does better than I ve ever done, Jesse Espinoza Sr., his father, said. Hope he goes to college, finds the right one, hope he becomes a great man (and) settles down.

New research shows the national birthrate at a record low at about half of what it was during the baby boom years which peaked in 1957.

In my own experience it hasn t decreased, but I can see it as a national trend, Dr. Gerald Bullock, an obstetrician, said.

Bullock, OB chairman at Memorial Hermann - The Woodlands Hospital, estimates he has delivered some 10,000 babies in his career.

One of the big drives in the OB-GYN college is to make birth control available to pretty much anybody, and we have a lot of lone acting contraceptives that people are using, Bullock said.

Although Houston appears to be an exception, the steepest decline in birthrates is occurring among Hispanic women, recently reaching their lowest level in 20 years according to the research.

As for little Jesse, his father said the baby is in good hands.

He s got a great mother. I know she ll raise him right, and I ll be there every step of the way, (to) teach him right, Espinoza said.

The study shows access to higher education and the onset of the recession has also played roles in the declining birthrate in recent years.

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