SEOUL, April 14 (Korea Bizwire) – Research indicates that as housing prices rise, people tend to have children at an older age or not have any children at all. The results of a recent study suggests that policies tied to housing prices could effect the birthrate.
A recent report issued by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs looked into the relationship between housing prices and birthrates in 16 cities over the past five years (from 2009 to 2013).
The research team calculated the correlation coefficient of four variables – housing prices, rent, total fertility rate and the age at which women first give birth. A correlation coefficient is a number between -1 and one. If the number is closer to one, it means that the correlation is larger. On the other hand, a number closer to -1 means that the correlation is small.
Results of the analysis showed that the correlation coefficient between housing prices and total fertility rate was -0.070. The correlation coefficient between housing prices and the age of first birth was 0.77. Higher house prices led to a lower birthrate and women giving birth to their first child at an older age.
The results were the same when rental prices were compared with birthrate and the average age of first-time moms.
For instance, Seoul, which had the highest housing prices, also had the lowest fertility rate. The age at which women had their first child was also the highest (31.5 years old). A similar phenomenon occurred in large cities such as Busan and Incheon where housing prices are high.
On the other hand, areas where real estate was relatively affordable such as Jeongbuk, Jeonnam, Chungbuk and Chungnam provinces had higher birthrates, and women tended to have their first child at an earlier age.
The researchers noted that they discovered that the price of real estate can work as a factor that influences childbirth. They emphasized that a long-term policy which allows young men and women to purchase a house without worrying about the uncertainty of the real estate market could be a way to increase fertility rates.
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)