SEJONG, Nov. 20 (Korea Bizwire) — The number of children that South Korean parents want in their lifetimes has more than halved in the past 60 years amid the country’s low birth trend, government data showed Monday.
Married couples in the country said they want 2.07 kids on average in the 2010-2015 period, compared with 4.49 children tallied between 1950 and 1954, according to the data by Statistics Korea.
The figure has been on a steady decline since 1950, before making a modest turnaround. It hit a record low of 1.88 in the 2005-2009 time span.
It is higher than the actual fertility rate, or the average number of babies that a woman is projected to have during her lifetime, which reached 1.17 in 2016. This is the lowest number since 2009.
The latest number is still lower than the replacement level of 2.1 that would keep South Korea’s population of 51 million stable.
Some 8.2 percent of married people have no plans to have children at all, sharply up from the 2.3 percent of those surveyed in the 1950-1954 period. The percentage was 5.8 percent in 2005-2009 and 5 percent in 2000-2004.
Such a trend is not new in South Korea, where an increasing number of women work and want to hold onto their careers. This has led to many getting married later than in the past and having children at older ages.