Nearly half of the recently married couples in South Korea had no children in 2021, data showed on Monday, amid the country’s chronic low birthrate and changing social norms.
Some 45.8 per cent of the country’s 871,428 couples who were legally married in the five years up to November 2021 did not have children, rising from 44.5 per cent tallied in 2020, Yonhap news agency reported, citing the data from Statistics Korea.
The statistics cover couples who tied the knot for the first time from November 2016 to October 2021.
The proportion of newly married couples with children has been on a steady decline from 63.7 per cent in 2016 and 62.5 per cent in 2017 to 54.2 per cent in 2021, the data showed.
The number of babies born to newlyweds came to just 0.66 in 2021, down from 0.68 tallied a year earlier.
South Korea has been struggling with a decline in childbirths as many young people delay marriage or give up on getting married or having babies amid economic difficulties and changing social norms.
The country’s total fertility rate — the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime — came to just 0.79 in the third quarter. It was much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 which would keep South Korea’s population stable at 52 million.
Homeownership also continued to affect childbirths, the data showed. Newlyweds with their own homes had an average of 0.73 newborn, higher than 0.60 for newly married couples without a home.
The data showed 59.9 per cent of the couples with their own homes had kids, 9.8 percentage points higher than those without a home.
Nearly 55 per cent of the newlyweds in South Korea had dual incomes in 2021, up 2.9 percentage points from a year earlier.
The newlyweds earned a yearly average income of 64 million won ($48,900) in 2021, up 6.9 per cent from a year earlier. The dual-income households made 80 million won, compared to 48.1 million won tallied for single-income counterparts.