Continuing Fertility Decline in South Korea
Minja K. Choe, East West Center
Seoung-Kwon Kim, Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs
The total fertility rate in South Korea reached the replacement level in 1983 and continued to decline to lowest low level of 1.08 in 2004. Studies on fertility behavior up to year 2000 indicate that the major factor associated with declining total fertility rate is the trend toward later marriage. However, the most recent national fertility data show signs of a new trend: significant decline in marital fertility and increase in childlessness within marriage since 2000. This paper takes a closer look at the first birth interval as well as fertility intentions among South Korean women using the 2003 National Survey of Fertility and Family Health data together with 2000 census (2% sample). We are especially interested in estimating the effects of economic hardship, difficulty in combining work and family life, cost of children’s education, and attitudes on family and childbearing on fertility behavior among South Korean women.