SEOUL, Jul. 11 (Korea Bizwire) — According to a new report, newly married couples who live close to the wife’s parents tend to have a child earlier than others.
According to the latest edition of the Health and Social Welfare Review released by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA) on Monday, married couples living in the same metropolitan area as the wife’s parents give birth to their first child nearly 20 percent earlier than those who live in different cities.
Researchers found a correlation between where an infant’s grandparents live and how far into marriage couples bear a child after analyzing the time spent between marriage and a first child among 894 newly married women, based on data from the Korea Labor & Income Panel Study, among which 755 had given birth to a child.
The average length of time newly married women spent between getting married and the first childbirth was estimated to be nearly 20 months, while nearly 67 percent of the couples surveyed were living in the same metropolitan area as the wife’s parents, according to the report.
With the distance between the wife’s parents and married couples estimated at 38.7 kilometers on average, over half the couples that participated in the survey were living relatively close to their parents.
Though figures from the report suggest married couples living further than 10 kilometers away from their parents-in-law are more likely to experience delayed childbirth, once past a certain distance, the bigger question comes down to whether grandparents are living close enough to be able to help with childcare.
“Though there is no such thing as too much emphasis on the government’s childcare policy, expanding governmental support is not the only answer to the various issues South Korean parents are facing. It’s time to consider using other childcare support resources,” the researchers noted in the report.
“There need to be incentives and education programs for parents who choose to let grandparents look after their newborn babies and children. Income tax cuts or rent assistance for those moving close to elderly parents should also be considered.”
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)