South Korea’s fertility rate dropped to a seven-year low in 2016 as young Koreans further push back marriage and having children, government data showed.
According to data from Statistics Korea on Wednesday, the total fertility rate, or the average number of babies that a woman is projected to have during her lifetime, was 1.17 in 2016, down 0.7 from the previous year. This was the lowest figure since 1.15 of 2009.
The fertility number bottomed out in 2005 at 1.08 and climbed to 1.30 in 2012.
The number of newborn babies last year also dipped 7.3 percent on year to 406,200. The number of newborns fell for two consecutive years from 2013 but saw a slight uptick of 3,000 in 2015, only to tumble again last year.
Korea’s birthrate remained the lowest among OECD countries. Based on 2015 data, the country’s birthrate was 1.24, well below the OECD average of 1.68.
With more people marrying at a later age, birthrate fell among younger women and rose among the older. In 2016, the number of births per 1,000 persons was 56.4 in the 25-29 age group and 110.1 in the 30-34 age group, down 10.6 percent and 5.7 percent on year, respectively.
This figure rose among older women, with the 35-39 group edging up 0.8 percent to 48.7 and the 40-44 group 5.4 percent to 5.9.
The average age in which a woman has her first child was 32.4, up 0.2 years from the previous year.
More than one out of four first-time moms, or 26.4 percent, were over 35 years of age, up 2.5 percentage points from last year.
By Yoon Won-sup
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]