• Kyodo

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The national fertility rate in 2011 is expected to stay flat from the previous year at around 1.39, reflecting a slowdown in a recovery trend seen since 2005, health ministry officials said Tuesday.

The average number of children a woman is estimated to bear over her lifetime recovered to 1.37 in 2008 after hitting a record low 1.26 in 2005 as more women in their 30s gave birth while the pace of decline in the rate among women in their 20s eased. The figure remained flat the following year and edged up to 1.39 in 2010.

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