South Korea’s fertility rate fell to a record low last year as women have been having fewer children due to economic constraints and waiting until later in life to have them, according to a report released on Monday.
The average number of children per women of childbearing age was 1.08 in 2005, down from 1.16 in 2004, the National Statistical Office said in a report.
It said the fertility rate in South Korea was well below the global average of 2.6 children and the average in developed countries of 1.6 children.
The report said more South Korean women have been putting off childbirth until their late 20s or 30s. Women have increasingly joined the workforce to help couples pay for housing and save money for their children’s education.
Given current trends, South Korea’s population will fall below 40 million in 2050 from the current population of 48 million, it said, adding the country would face economic strain due to the ageing society.
Revision date: July 4, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD