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Highly developed nations see rise in fertility

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For decades, the rate at which women were having babies in many of the world's most highly developed countries slowly declined.

While the trend cheered some environmentalists worried about overpopulation, it stoked increasing concern among policymakers, demographers and social scientists about the long-term impact on societies as their populations aged and sometimes began to shrink.

Now, however, new research has produced the first glimmer of hope that economic prosperity may not be linked to an inexorable decline in fertility. The…

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