Korean Women’s Average Age for Having First Baby Is At 33 And Netizens Explain Why
As of 2021, the average age of Korean women giving birth to their first baby is 33 years old, significantly higher than 26 years old in 1993. This is based on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) “2022 Korea Economic Report,” which also reveals that Korean women’s age for first childbirth is much higher than Japan, the United States, and other developed countries in Europe.
The OECD said, “It costs a lot to raise children, and women are forced to make choices because it is difficult to balance work and childcare.” The high cost of education and housing was also seen as a factor.
The number of women of child-bearing age likewise decreased by 2% to 11,620,000 last year, which means the fertility rate is likely to deteriorate. South Korea already has the world’s lowest fertility rate, with the prospect of its population of 51 million people more than halving by the end of this century. The number of newborns decreased last year to 260,600, equivalent to about 0.5% of the population.
According to the statistics of the Korea Economic Research Institute, Korea’s aging rate was the fastest among OECD countries in the 50 years since 1970. If this trend continues over the next 50 years, the population over age 65 will reach 46.4 percent, making South Korea the only country where the elderly population exceeds the working population.
To boost South Korea’s fertility rate, the OECD recommends preparing countermeasures such as free childcare, expanding parental leave, and changing the labor culture.
Netizens’ not-so-optimistic reactions reflect the reality of why these statistics exist in South Korea.