South Korea's fertility rate hits record low in 2017

The number of babies South Korean women have during their lifetime was 1.05 in 2017, down 10.2 per cent from a year earlier.
The number of babies South Korean women have during their lifetime was 1.05 in 2017, down 10.2 per cent from a year earlier.PHOTO: HAENAM PUBLIC HEALTH CENTRE

SEOUL (XINHUA) - South Korea's fertility rate hit a record low last year as they delayed marriage and the date of having first babies, a government report showed Wednesday (Aug 22).

The number of babies South Korean women have during their lifetime was 1.05 in 2017, down 10.2 per cent from a year earlier, according to Statistics Korea.

It was the lowest since the statistical agency began compiling the data in 1970. The number of newborn babies in 2017 declined to the lowest of 357,800, down 11.9 per cent from the previous year.

The 2017 fertility rate was half of 2.1 babies needed to maintain the country's current population. It was far below the average fertility rate of 1.68 among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The average age of women having babies was 32.6 in 2017, up 0.2 from the previous year.

The 29.4 per cent of women had their first babies at the age of 35 or higher. It was up 3.0 percentage points from a year earlier.

South Korean women delayed marriage and having first babies, boosting worry about the reducing workforce amid an ageing population.

The low fertility rate would increase burden for welfare costs among the younger generation, while weakening the purchasing power of the economy.