June 07, 2022 11:28
The more educated a woman in Korea today the more likely she is to have children, a study suggests, turning the received wisdom on its head.
The Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs analyzed census data and interviewed 1,779 couples who were married for one to seven years to see which socioeconomic factors contributed to their decision to have children or not.
To the researchers' surprise, they found that the chances of choosing to remain childless were higher among women with high school diplomas or less than women with university degrees. By the same token, the higher the monthly salary of a woman, the lower the chances of her having no kids.
The working hours of women also had no an effect on their decision to have children.
"Until the 1970s, the level of education was inversely proportional to the number of children a woman had, but the opposite has been happening since the 2000s," the researchers said. "The orthodox view is that a more educated woman's opportunity costs increase when she has children, but in Korea, women decide against having children not because they value their careers but because of the high cost of raising them."
The husband's role also played an important part. The more a husband contributes to household chores, the lower the chance of a woman delaying childbirth or deciding to remain childless. Also, the happier a woman is in her marriage, the lower the chances that she would not have kids.
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