Americans had more babies in 1987 than in any year in nearly a quarter-century, but Idaho's birth rate reached the lowest point ever recorded.

With out-migration and the declining birth rate, Idaho's population dropped from an estimated 1,002,000 in 1986 to 998,000 last year, according to the state Bureau of Vital Statistics.The nation recorded more deaths than any year in history even though the national death rate was virtually unchanged, and the number of Idahoans who died in 1987 remained about the same as in 1986.

There were more than 2.1 million deaths nationwide in 1987, a rate of 8.7 per 1,000 people. In Idaho, 7,305 people died, for a rate of 7.1 per 1,000 residents.

Babies born in Idaho's southeastern counties kept the birth rate well above the national average. But Idaho's overall birth rate has declined since 1979 and is approaching the national rate.

There were 15,926 babies born in Idaho last year and more than 3.83 million nationwide. That was up from 3.73 million in 1986 and the most since 1964.

The estimates were released Monday by the National Center for Health Statistics in its preliminary statistical summary for 1987.