Korean Families Stay Tight

kpopluv, March 10, 2014, 1:42 p.m.

In Seoul, only 1 out of every 2 married women in their 30s has 0-1 children. This number is actually greater than that of the whole country, where the same results are obtained by 1 out of every 4 women.

The Chosun Ilbo analyzed the 2010 Census, and to their astonishment, found that 49.4% of women in Seoul have 0-1 children, which dominates the 22.3% of the 1990 population. When compared to the whole nation, the figure hits a total of 39.8%, once again compared to the much lower 18.6% back in 1990.

"In the past, it was almost the norm to have two children," Cho Young-tae of Seoul National University stated. "But that is no longer the case among women in their 30s, who are the main childbearing group. The reason the birthrate dropped considerably last year is because of a sharp fall in the number of families having second child."

Cost of education seems to be a convincing factor in families raising children. Excessive costs of private schools can result in Korean families limiting the number of children they can have just on a financial level.

The stats also show that women with a higher degree will have a higher percentage of having just 1 child. A total of 43.1% Married women with a bachelor’s degree have just 1 child, while only 31.8% of high school graduates fall into the same category. It seems that high school dropouts share a similar percentage, coming in at 30.7%.

Another factor contributing to these smaller families is the increasing number of women in the workplace. As women are earning careers, the average age to first get married increased from 24.7 in 1990 to 28.9 just in 2010. As for women who were unmarried during 2012, 61.1% of 28 year olds were unmarried, 43.9% of 30 year olds, and 37.7% amongst 31 year olds.

Kim Han-gon of  Yeungnam University stated, "Things will get worse unless there are some effective measures to boost the birthrate as more and more married women have just one child and an increasing number of women are not getting married or marry late." Kim hopes for reduced costs of marriages, and a more favorable environment for women to enjoy a career after childbirth.

"Making it easy to take maternity leave and come back to work afterwards is one example," Kim stated. "Otherwise it will be almost impossible to boost the birthrate."

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