Korea's Fertility Rate Hits New All-Time Low

  • By Kim Sung-mo

    May 25, 2023 13:11

    Korea's total fertility rate stood at 0.81 during the first quarter this year, the lowest for the first quarter since records began. The total fertility rate is the average number of children born to a woman over her lifetime. 
    The rate rebounded slightly to 1.34 in the first quarter of 2015 but has been falling since 2016. If the trend continues, the number of babies born this year will probably shrink to about 230,000.
    According to Statistics Korea, the rate in this year's first quarter was down 0.06 on-year, which makes it likely that the rate for the entire year will be even smaller than last year's all-time low of 0.78. 
    Some 64,256 babies were born in the first three months, down six percent on-year. In March, the number also hit an all-time low for the month at just 21,138. 
    Statistics Korea blamed a drastic drop of marriages during lockdown and the dwindling number of women of childbearing age.
    At the current rate the number of newborns could dwindle to about 230,000 for the whole year. It stood at 249,031 last year.
    Women have babies later and later in life. The number of babies born to young women aged 25-29 fell from 27.2 per 1,000 to 23.6 over the last year, but the number of babies born to women aged 35-39 increased from 47.8 to 48.4 and that of babies born to women over 40 also rose from 4.4 to 4.5. 
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