1 in 4 New Mothers in South Korea are Over the Age of 35

Hyo Jin Lee, Aug. 25, 2016, 9:38 a.m.

One out of every four new mothers in Korea is 35 or older as more and more tie the knot later in life. Statistics Korea on Wednesday said 23.9 percent of all women who gave birth last year were over 35, up from 21.6 percent in 2014 and just 4.7 percent in 1995. The average age of new mothers was 32.2 last year, up 0.2 year compared to 2014. In 1995, the average age was still only 27.9.

The number of babies born for every 1,000 women between ages 35 and 39 or fertility rate stood at 48.3, up around 12 percent compared to the previous year. A total of 438,400 babies were born last year, just 3,000 or 0.7 percent more than in 2004, but the figure has been essentially flat since 2013.

But the proportion of multiple births rose markedly as fertility treatment increased for the growing number of women giving birth later in life. In 2005, multiple births accounted for 2.2 percent of childbirths, but that rose to 3.7 percent last year. The proportion of premature births also rose from 4.8 to 6.9 percent over the same period.

The total fertility rate, which estimates the average number of children born to a woman aged between 15 and 49 during her lifetime, stood at 1.24 babies last year, up 2.8 percent compared to 2014, but Korea has been suffering from an ultra-low fertility for 15 years, far below the OECD average of 1.68 babies. As of 2014, the total fertility rates of France, the U.S. and Japan stood at 1.98, 1.86 and 1.42.

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